Nature provides some great showdowns. Crocodile vs. wildebeest. Cheetah vs. gazelle. Now, an  trail camera captured incredible shots of an unlikely fight between two of New York’s most powerful hunters – a bald eagle and a coyote.

The photos have been shared thousands of times across social media as people marvel at the rare sight. Bald eagles live all along the Hudson River and in the Adirondacks. The Eastern Coyote migrated into New York in the 1930s and has become a prevalent hunter and scavenger across Upstate.

Bald Eagle vs. Coyote: Tale of the Tape

Bald Eagles

  • Height: 2.5-3 feet
  • Wingspan: 6.5 feet
  • Weight: 6.6-14 pounds
  • Diet: Fish, small birds, rodents, carrion

Eastern Coyotes

  • Height: 2 feet
  • Length: 4-5 feet
  • Weight: 30-50 pounds
  • Diet: Small animals, plants, carrion, human food waste

Look at the size of that eagle! Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how big they can get until you see them next to something for comparison’s sake. You may think the coyote easily has the upper paw, but there have been lots of recorded incidents of bald eagles challenging coyotes and killing them.

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The most likely reason for this fight is for food, as both animals tend to be scavengers when necessary and will challenge other animals over a meal. It is approaching the time of year that mother coyotes give birth, so the coyote could be protecting or claiming an area for its pups to den in.

While we don’t know how the fight ended, it’s amazing to see such a rare moment that highlights how incredible New York’s wildlife can be.

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Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell