Camper catches battle between bald eagle and Canada goose on camera

What seemed like a typical spring morning at Spider Lake Springs turned into what’s been dubbed “a battle between two nations.”

Browser, B.C.-resident Lisa Campbell was vacationing with her family at the Vancouver Island campground, when she heard a commotion at the nearby pond early Friday morning. She decided to head down to the water to find out what was going on, and when she arrived, she found a bald eagle perched on top of a lifeless-looking goose.

“It was very still, there was no more noise coming out of him” Bell told Global News. “But as it turns out, I think he was probably playing dead.”

As the eagle shuffled around in attempt to get a better grip on the goose, it quickly scrambled out from underneath the eagle’s claws and raced toward the pond.

“It’s nature, it’s spectacular actually,” she told CTV News. “You’re rooting for the goose and seeing what’s going to happen.”

The goose sat in the middle of the pond, but that wasn’t enough to deter the eagle, which dove toward the water. The goose plunged under the surface and dodged the bird’s sharp talons, but the eagle doubled back and swooped down on the goose a second time. Unsuccessful, the eagle flew to a nearby tree, where Bell said it perched for at least an hour before deciding to move on.

Only suffering from a few minor scratches, the goose stuck around the pond for a while after the scuffle.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime encounter, and it’s even more special that Bell managed to capture it on camera, but it’s actually quite common for eagles to attack other birds. Years ago, there were reports of bald eagles attacking colonies of herons across western Washington, and according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, they’re often seen stalking other birds for food—including Canada geese.

Although it’s easy to root for the underdog, Bell told CTV that she understands the eagle’s motivations too.

“He was hungry. You look at it from the eagle’s point of view and they have babies to feed as well.”