Do Eagles Do The San Juan Shuffle?

When I lived in Montana, one of my favorite seasons was winter. In addition to the utter stillness and quiet, there was the spectacle of a bald eagle who would fish outside my office window one or two days a week. It’s how I learned that eagles are not very good swimmers. Perhaps the water was two shallow, or the eagle’s technique not quite perfected, but inevitably he would try to pin a trout to the streambed, then waddle and flop to shore.
Apparently the eagles on Utah’s Green River are much more sophisticated. According to Carl “Boomer” Stout of Green River Outfitters, the eagles there have learned how to do the San Juan shuffle. Of course it’s considered cheating for humans to do it, but I’m guessing wildlife officers would be hesitant to approach a full-grown eagle practicing the technique — at least not without backup. Tom Ross in the Steamboat Pilot and Today.

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  • With this skill, the birds of prey would have a field day on the real San Juan River.