Watch a Bald Eagle Harass and Dive Bomb an Adult Grizzly

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: April 16, 2023
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Key Points:

  • This video covers a bald eagle dive-bombing an adult grizzly bear.
  • For a bald eagle to behave in this way, it probably interpreted the bear as a threat or as prey.
  • It is also possible that the eagle perceived the bear as a threat to its nest.

The bald eagle is synonymous with the US and has been the national bird since 1782. They live almost exclusively in North America and prefer habitats that are forested and have a water source. However, they have been sighted elsewhere including Bermuda and the Artic.

The grizzly bear is also a famous resident of North America and likes a similar habitat. So it is not surprising that these two species come across each other from time to time. Most of the time, they tend to ignore each other.

That is not what we see in this video, however! In this extraordinary footage, we see a brave bald eagle swoop down from a height and grasp a grizzly’s head! The bird soon realizes that this is not a great idea, releases its grip, and flies away.

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Bald Eagles and Their Prey

For a bald eagle to behave in this way, it probably interpreted the bear as a threat or as prey. Could it have not seen the bear properly? Of course, we don’t know anything about the eyesight of this particular eagle but, in general, bald eagles have fantastic eyesight.

They can see four or even five times better than we humans. They can see ultraviolet light and we cannot.  Also, they have a 340-degree field of view. This means that they are able to spot prey accurately and spot threats as well.

So, what do bald eagles usually prey on? You will not be surprised to know that grizzly bears are not high up on their list of food. Instead, they hunt small mammals, fish, and waterfowl.

They will also eat animals that other predators have caught as this gets them a meal without having to put much effort in! So, it’s unlikely that the eagle saw the grizzly as a potential snack.

However, grizzlies will also eat small mammals and fish and will eat animals that have been killed by other predators so perhaps these two animals were heading for the same meal.

bald eagle perched on column
Bald eagles have 4 to 5 times stronger eyesight than humans.


Nesting Bald Eagles

It is also possible that the eagle perceived the bear as a threat to its nest. Grizzlies (and all birds) are opportunistic feeders and will certainly have a taste of birds’ eggs if they come across a nest.

Even though eagles prefer to nest in trees, they sometimes nest on the ground, and this leaves the eggs vulnerable to attack by a bear. The nests are huge – they can be six feet in diameter! Perhaps one has been spotted by this bear, and the eagle is warning it off!

giant baby eagle nest
Bald eagle nests are made of sticks, moss, and twigs and can be 8 feet in diameter and 4 feet deep!

©Tom Clausen/

Is it Normal for Bald Eagles to Attack Grizzly Bears?

As stated above, bald eagles are only aggressive when their nests are threatened or they are feeling territorial. This type of behavior is fairly normal among birds of prey. Bald Eagles won’t target grizzly bears as they are usually too large to carry off for a food source. It is likely the bird in this video was protecting its young, it’s an area, or feeling threatened by this large predator.

Additionally, bald eagles have been known to attack humans, but it is far from lethal and mostly due to humans getting too close to their territory.

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The Featured Image

bald eagle in flight
Bald eagles are large flying birds and fierce predators.

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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