Dan Cole was watching television on Sunday when he noticed a pair of eagles engaged in an aerial combat outside his picture window.
Homer resident Dan Cole works to separate two eagles that were stuck together with locked talons after an aerial fight.
“At first I thought they were mating but then I realized they were fighting. This was more violent,” said Cole, who lives about 10 miles east of Homer. “They were tearing into one another.”
The eagles battled with their talons and then suddenly plunged from the sky. Cole ran down to check on the pair and saw they were in a pond, one eagle’s talon locked into the leg of the other bird.
“They were thrashing around and still going after the other. I went back to the house and put on a sweatshirt and some heavy gloves,” Cole told KTUU in a phone interview.
Cole grabbed an alder branch and used it to hold the eagles in place.
The Homer resident then reached and used his hand to release the top talons of the more aggressive bird. After unlocking the birds, the more aggressive eagle flapped to the other side the pond.
The remaining bird seemed a little stunned, Cole said. The eagle took several minutes to recover before shaking itself and flying away.
Cole's wife shot video of the encounter. As they worked, the pair noticed a third eagle flying overhead.
“I think it was the female that they were fighting over,” Cole said.
He said he and his wife had some experience handling large birds in other locations.
“We did rescue work with pelicans, egrets, and blue herons in Southern California.”
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said she had not received any reports about the encounter.