The other day, nature photographer Doug Gemmell was out with his camera when a picture-perfect opportunity began to unfold in front of him.
As Gemmell looked on through his lens, a bald eagle swooped down toward the ground, talons at the ready. Though the eagle was only a juvenile, having yet to develop white feathers on her head, her hunting prowess was still on full display.
The eagle’s prey that day, however, was something Gemmell did not expect.
Bald eagles’ diet consists primarily of fish, often skillfully grabbed from the water, but the bird Gemmell observed that day was descending instead over a parking lot.
That’s where she’d espied a different sort of meal.
And, well, she went for it.
Gemmell’s view was slightly obstructed by a snowbank in the foreground, so he wasn’t sure at first what had wound up trapped within the eagle’s firm grasp.
Still, he managed to capture photos of the eagle making off with that coveted prize.
It was only later, after Gemmell reviewed the photos, that he discovered the delicious truth.
“I did not know what the eagle picked up until I went back home,” Gemmell told The Dodo. “When I cropped in on some of the photos, I could see it was a half-eaten slice of pepperoni pizza.”
That unexpected food item evidently looked just right in the eagle’s keen eyes.
“I thought, ‘Wow. That is very cool,’ when I saw pizza in her talons,” Gemmell said. “That is not something you see every day, that’s for sure.”
Gemmell isn’t sure if the bald eagle actually ate the pizza or eventually thought better of snacking on her parking lot find. But either way, it was a moment Gemmell is grateful to have recorded with his camera.
“With nature photography, things happen so fast that you don’t always know exactly what you just took a photo of,” he said. “Then when you get the chance to look at the photos, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised that you captured something you had no idea was even there at the time.”