Bald Eagles vs. Red-Tailed Hawks: An Aerial Battle

March 15, 2013  •  4 Comments

Hello all! This is my first blog post on Peak Photography of Montana. I hope to post from time to time about awesome experiences I have out in the field as well as tips and tricks I've learned through years of travel!

It all started yesterday when I was out for a walk with my sister and our dogs in a field out near my dad's office in Billings, MT.  We saw two Red-Tailed Hawks sitting in a tree maybe 30 yards in front of us. Well as we walked towards their tree we realized we were under their nest. So they swooped off of their tree and did a slow pass above us to see what we were doing. This allowed me some great shots:

Red-Tailed HawkRed-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

So that brings me to today. My sister gives me a call to rush out to the office because these two bald eagles are sitting in a tree out front. 

So I do, and there they are:

Two Bald Eagles sitting in a tree in BIllings, MontanaPair of Bald Eagles

I snap a handful of pictures before they fly off...

So as they leave so do I. Then I see them again, flying in a field. So I follow them only to realize they're heading back for the farm. So I turn around and park. I realize they are heading for the trees where the Red-Tailed Hawks live, so I sprint towards the trees. And boom, full on aerial battle between the two eagles and the two hawks (who are half the size of the eagles). The hawks are quite feisty for their size and end up chasing off the eagles. 

The pictures weren't my best work as I was shooting right into the sun, but there are still some pretty cool shots that came from the experience!

A red-tail hawk took on a bald eagle Bald Eagle fighting a Red-Tailed HawkA red-tail hawk took on a bald eagle Bald Eagle fighting a Red-Tailed HawkA red-tail hawk took on a bald eagle Anyway, that's it! I hope you enjoyed my first blog. If you did enjoy it, all I ask is you share it with a friend who you think would enjoy it too! Comment below if you have any blog topics in particular you would like me to write about.

You can purchase all of these shots, as well as check out the rest of my wildlife shots here:


Andy A.


Peak Photography of Montana


VERY cool. Kudos
Bernie Hughes(non-registered)
Thank you for the photos! I found you by searching for
"do Bald Eagles and Redtails cohabitate?" since I have
seen a Bald Eagle and a Redtail sitting about
10 feet apart in a small tree overlooking a pond. This
seems to be the exception and since they don't seem
to have mates, that may make the difference.
I live in Southern Illinois and many Redtails winter over
here and there are quite a few residents also. Bald Eagles
are showing up more and more and quite a few seem to be solo.
This is making my raptor watching a lot more exciting!
By the way, I saw a Coopers scrambling through a bush
yesterday after a small bird right here in town! (Nashville, Il)
James Roberts(non-registered)
cheryl koerbel(non-registered)
Thank you for sharing your photos. I am from Pittsburgh, PA and recently the newspaper and local news revealed that there is a bald eagle nest on Pittsburgh's Southside, close to the Monongahela River. This is close to my home. There is a bike trail along that stretch of the river (an old mill site). The bikers and walkers ahave a good view of the nest. Today my sister and I walked the trail, saw the nest...there was a bird soaring nearby but we couldn't tell if it was the usual hawks or perhaps a lucky shot of the eagle...from your photos it had to be the hawk. Thanks again.
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