Eagles Attack Mojo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 5th, 2009

The News Herald
Southgate, Michigan

Man says two bald eagles attacked his dog

Friday, January 30, 2009 2:35 PM EST

By Francesca Chilargi

GIBRALTAR [Michigan] — A black Labrador retriever named Mojo is a fortunate fellow, according to his owner.

Lester Wood, 55, said two large bald eagles were diving for his 65-pound dog on the coldest day last month in his back yard on Horse Island.

Mojo, who is 2 years old, was in the back yard when Wood stepped out and saw the eagles diving toward him.

That’s when he put his hands up. One bird saw him and made a sharp right turn, almost hitting his truck in his yard, he said.

“I know I was interrupting them from getting the dog,” Wood said.

The other eagle followed the first one and they both got tangled in a tree at the end of his driveway before breaking free, flying over Lake Erie and swooping back to Wood’s yard, he said.

Wood is adamant that the eagles, which once were endangered and are federally protected, were plunging for his dog. Aside from the dog, there was only a tree near the deck, he said.

“They were only eight or nine feet off the ground,” he said. “They didn’t come down to the dog, but they were five to six feet away from the dog. They were coming right for him. He’s lucky I came out there.”

John Hartig, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge manager, said he hasn’t heard of bald eagles harassing dogs and doesn’t know why that would have happened.

The birds usually keep their distance and hunt for fish, Hartig said.

Wood said the eagles were about 4 feet tall and their wingspan was about 5 feet. They were muscular and as big as a trash can, he said.

Adult male eagles generally weigh about 9 pounds and adult females weigh between 12 and 13 pounds. Adult eagles have a wing-span of up to 7 feet, according to experts.

Immature eagles are brown with white heads and tails. The distinct features of the mature bird develop at 5 years old.

In the wild, bald eagles live between 30 and 35 years. In captivity, they have been known to live up to 50 years.

Wood wants to warn other pet owners and parents to be vigilant when their loved ones are outside.

One of his neighbors won’t let her dog go outside without her because she’s afraid of the eagles possibly attacking the dog, he said.

The cold snap has lured hordes of eagles to the island that otherwise would have few, if any at all. Wood’s wife, Cheryl, 52, and their neighbors said they haven’t seen so many eagles before this winter.

Before, Lester Wood said, he would drive to Estral Beach in Berlin Township to see a nest of eagles. Now, he doesn’t have to because he can see the birds from his window.

Wood said he believes the eagles are “a nuisance bird.”

“I know they were almost extinct and wiped out, but they are making a big comeback,” he said.

Residents along the waterfront usually can see several eagles between 8 a.m. and noon. It’s not every day that most people can see an eagle, Wood said.

With the cold temperatures, Wood said he believes the eagles fly to the island, which is bounded by a bay and Lake Erie, searching for food because the bay doesn’t freeze like creeks and rivers.

For instance, the water under the Wayne County-owned bridge between Trenton and Grosse Ile has been freezing, Wood said. But when the water is open, there are not as many eagles flying together over Horse Island.

He said he knows eagles can attack dogs because one killed a golden retriever belonging to a friend from Alaska.

The friend was walking the dog when the eagle swooped in and struck the dog three times on its back, he said.

The woman kicked the bird off the dog, and it hopped behind her as she carried the dog, he said.

“One eagle actually killed the dog,” Wood said. “I know they will attack things that are bigger than them.”

Thanks to RDH!

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Eagles Attack Mojo”

  1. bray_beast responds:

    I don’t know about bald eagles killing dogs, but I don’t see why it isn’t possible. They’re not that much smaller than golden eagles, and they can take down wolves. Check youtube for video of Arabs and Mongolians hunting with golden eagles, and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. amstar responds:

    I live up in Eastern Manitoba near the Whiteshell Park and the Winnipeg River. We see lots of bald and golden eagles up here from when the thaw begins until late in the fall. My late husband always considered cats and small dogs “eagle food,” and cautioned me not to let puppies or cats stay outdoors or they may be carried away by hawks, eagles or turkey vultures. I have never heard of eagles attacking a medium size or large dog, but have sometimes seen large birds checking out my full grown Karelian Bear Dogs as they roam the property. But, they have never tried to attack my dogs– probably because there’s lots of fish and small animals out here for them to eat. IMO, that eagle must have been PRETTY HUNGRY to try to go after a dog that size! (Just another thing for me to worry about!)

  3. raisinsofwrath responds:

    I hope we’re not going to start talking about eagles carrying off dogs and cats. There are exceptions but generally speaking, bald eagles can only carry about 5 lbs max.

    That being said, it would have to be a miniature or toy breed of dog. I’m just wondering if there may have been a rodent in the yard and this guy mistakenly thought the birds were coming for his dog? I’m not saying he’s lying but eagles have excellent vision. How is it that they see the dog but not the man until the last minute?

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    Is it nesting season? Are there babies up in one of those trees? When protecting their young (or nest) the larger birds don’t usually think it necessary to actually, physically attack some of the larger animals out there. After all, physically attack the wrong animal and you might be its lunch. Usually their size is enough for the smarter of the animal world (no matter the tricks you might be able to teach labs–they ain’t the smartest of the larger dogs) to go “whoa! that was too close! I get the picture…I’m leaving, I’m leaving…” It is also very possible they were doing the in-flight mating dance. After all he said that the second one followed the other and they got tangled in the tree. When there’s a pretty little lady dancing with a guy, he’s not the most observant thing around. I know plenty of guys who actually walked into the wall right after they got kissed. On any other “normal” occasion there’s no real explanation for 2 bald eagles to dive bomb a dog, especially of that size.

  5. cryptidsrus responds:

    Interesting story. I guess our times have become so “strange” that nothing surprises anymore.
    Maybe they were extremely hungry. 😉

  6. sschaper responds:

    The bald eagle is a fish eagle, but they are spreading out. I saw one on Thursday circling over the area,which used to never happen, presumably looking for a winterkill as the snow melts in this thaw we are having.

    The pair in this story might have been trying to protect a kill or some food they’d found from the dog.

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