Using A Fish Slingshot For Better Eagle Photography

I know that the first thing you did after seeing that title is looking at the date thing on your smartphone. No it is not April first.

Photographer Ken Kester from Clinton, Iowa knows how hard it is to photograph Bald Eagles, so he rigged the system. Instead of depending on luck waiting for the eagle to arrive into a comfortable shooting position, he devised the perfect mechanism to lure them.

Using A Fish Slingshot For Better Eagle Photography

Using a homemade contraption, Ken slingshots dead fish about a hundred meters away from the docs. This is far enough from the docs that the eagles feel comfy enough to snatch the fish out of the water, while close enough to allow photographers to get good shots of the birds.

Ken tells the The Quad-City Times (video here) that the “Fish Launcher is popular with the ever-growing number of photographers who gather daily near Lock and Dam 14 [at the Mississippi River]. The large number of eagles along the river this year seems to have drawn out the photo enthusiasts who can number from 10 to more than 150 in recent weekends… …It brings the birds in and allows more opportunities to get a dramatic shot

[via The Quad-City Times], thanks for the head up, Jason.

  • Jayson Carey

    This is certainly baiting; I’m not sure what I think about this.

  • Greg Heller

    And this doesn’t take away from the birds natural hunting habits? I think this really needs to be looked at carefully by the states Dept of Natural Resources. Thankfully it’s for photography so far, but I think you should take your chances of getting the fish snatch picture the way the rest of us have to, sit and wait.

    • Jim Gilbert

      we’ve been told it is legal as long as the fish is a type that the eagles naturally consume…

      • Larry Vollick

        I agree with Greg. If you don’t have the patience to sit and wait, get another hobby. I personally get more satisfaction knowing that I had to work to get the shot. When you bait the birds in this manner, they become dependant on humans and not their natural instinct to hunt.
        Please don’t adopt this behavior!

      • Jim Gilbert

        Haven’t actually DONE it, just inquired after hearing about something like this…

  • Alexander Sollie

    That is a terrible idea for so many reasons.

    • Zizos

      This could also apply to people. Yet we still help people with money or food and then we tear them apart by saying that this was a lawn that you have to pay back even more or do what we want you to do if you want more of that comfort.
      But that would get covered easily so let’s only create corp. about animals and not human misuse.

  • mgs

    I’ve discovered a frightening trend on this site of the wrong word being correctly spelled. I mean I was hoping that I could shoot from the “docks” rather than my word processor.

    Is the editor asleep at the wheel?

    • udi tirosh

      fear not, MSG!
      the typo has been corrected! The editor is probably napping at the docks.

  • MJF Images

    This is why I pay absolutely no attention to wildlife photography now.

  • Ordnas_selac

    that’s cheating, pal.

  • CHAN


  • James Madison

    Terrible idea, and never should be promoted amongst law-abiding photographers. Baiting is unethical and illegal. Baiting federally protected wildlife (all raptors) is plain stupid. Giving out names doubles the insult.

    • Matt McClenahan

      Oh yes I agree, the real atrocaties are being carried out by the bird fedder manufactors. Humming bird feeders being the worse! Ive boycotted bird seed for years! It just aint natural!