An eagle and fox fight over coyote bait on Friday on the frozen St. John River. Credit: Courtesy of Sue Kelly

When you live on a beautiful river in northern Maine, as Sue and Wade Kelly do, you end up seeing some pretty amazing stuff. Like a deer that floated downstream on ice floes in a death-defying ride that left people amazed back in 2018.

And like today’s gem, which Sue Kelly again caught on video: A bald eagle and a fox battle for access to a deer carcass on the St. John River.

Here’s Sue’s description of the events that led to the video, which had been watched more than 4,000 times in just two hours after she posted it on Facebook.

“I took the video Tuesday. This coyote bait is in front of our place on the St. John River with a road kill deer carcass,” she said. “The eagle was feeding on it when I saw the fox come on the ice. I grabbed my camera just in case things got interesting.”

The video shows the fox running circles around the eagle, harassing it. Several times, the eagle hops toward the fox (or an opportunistic crow or raven) and drives the interlopers off the bait.

“The cat-and-mouse game went on for 30 minutes or so. To my surprise the eagle had the upper hand, but the fox was persistent and seemed to know he could antagonize the eagle enough to grab a few bites,” she said. “Eventually the fox wandered away, leaving the eagle to enjoy his meal in peace. It’s always a gift to get a peek into encounters between woodland creatures. The struggle is real.”

Thanks for the video, Sue. During a week like this, every bit of entertainment helps.

John Holyoke

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their...