Being a fishing guide, I see A LOT of birds! I easily see more birds than fish, especially using a spey rod most of the time. Some birds like the Merganser Duck are as common as an evergreen tree, and others are more rare, like a Harlequin duck I once saw on the Sauk River in Washington.
Eagles (baldies mostly) are a pretty common bird that I see almost every day on the OP and in AK. For the most part, it's just a cool bird you see flying overhead, and then you go back to your business. That was true until I ran into "TOP GUN." This Bald Eagle was HUGE, like stupid big, and she knew it with an attitude to match!
Encounter #1. I came around a corner on one of the first days I was floating early in the morning and saw a lot of feathers floating on top of the water, like a bird had been shot. As I got closer, I saw this massive eagle eating a live fledgling goose, letting me know where all the feathers came from. She flew away to a high perch and watched his brey from above, waiting to go back. Eerie feeling just coming by the kill zone, knowing that birds aren't the only thing eating other animals in the area.
Encounter #2. A few days later, Jordan Treadway has a fish on and we have a drone in the air, and the Big Bird is trying to take down the drone. Colton Andrew Jacobs brings the drone down safely, and after releasing the fish and celebrating with some high fives, we start walking back to the boat. We think the show is over, but then the Terminator dive bombs the water and locks onto a pretty good-sized steelhead, swims about 60 yards, and drags him on the bank to get started on lunch.
Encounter #3. 2nd to last day on the water, and we are crushing it on the late show. We were in the right place of the river at the right time of the steelhead tide push, and we were getting em! Literally, fish were everywhere, so much so that one of my buddies had a fish on and didn't know because he was looking at other fish swim by. This spot is now called "FLASHDANCE" for obvious reasons! After I yell at him and to let him knot to strip, we hook the fish up, get some pics and let the fish go. Typically when you let a fish go, and there isn't much cover around, they hide under the boat, and that's exactly what this fish did. We chilled out for a minute and watched the fish under the boat for a few then pulled off. All of this time Im not thinking about where I'm at in the river. After we hopped back in the boat and take off, Iron Man in the Bird Suit dive bombs the water again trying to get that steelhead. I caught hit right in the corner of my eye and yelled at him, and he missed the fish. After that happened, I bet you that I was not the only one that this happened to. I'm not sure what the killing radius & of this bird was, but if you were a smaller bird, drone or fish, you didn't want to be anywhere close.
Things got real on the 2nd shift, and seeing this powerful bird do his thing was the best of show!