British Columbia

Bald eagle plays ball on UBC Thunderbird field

Mitchell Barnett was walking past the Thunderbirds playing field on Thursday afternoon when he saw a juvenile bald eagle swoop down to the field.

The feathered forward was captured on film by a student

This juvenile bald eagle was ready to play some ball. (Mitchell Barnett/Instagram)

The UBC Thunderbirds might have a new mascot.

Mitchell Barnett was walking past the Thunderbirds playing field on Thursday afternoon when he saw a juvenile bald eagle swoop down to the field. 

"How do I rate its soccer skills? Definitely better than me," he said. "To me, it seemed like it was trying to pick up the ball."

The bird made a few attempts to fly off with the ball, but eventually flew to a nearby tree.

Ildiko Szabo, an assistant curator at UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum, says she's seen behaviour like this before. 

"Birds have been known to do crazy things like this," she said. "I don't know why it would go after a ball. It certainly doesn't look like food to me."

Last March, an eagle was filmed kicking around a soccer ball at a North Vancouver soccer practice.


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