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Watch a bald eagle fly through the South Loop (and get swarmed by seagulls)

David Lukauskas was taking a break in his South Loop office when he saw an unusually large bird flying by his window.

“In the corner of my eye I noticed something was not right,” he said. When he realized it was a “special bird,” he grabbed his camera.

Lukauskas was able to capture video of a bald eagle flying around his office building, at 329 West 18th Street, with about 10 seagulls following it. Wednesday, he posted it to his Facebook page and a South Loop Facebook group.

“Today a bald eagle flew in to check out the South Loop but our local seagulls escorted him out promptly,” said Lukauskas, owner of Crowd Control Direct.

“It’s a dad joke,” he said.

By Friday, the video had been viewed 10,000 times, Lukauskas said.

An eagle was seen in the South Loop. | Provided/David Lukauskas
An eagle was seen in the South Loop. | Provided/David Lukauskas

While infrequent, eagles do sometimes make their way to Chicago.

“Seeing them downtown is kind of a rare treat,” said Carl Giometti, president of the Chicago Ornithological Society.

But, he said, it’s not as uncommon as people think.

“During the winter time bald eagles are a relatively common resident of the Chicago area, but they tend to frequent the Lake Calumet area” where they can prey on fish and ducks, Giometti said.

As for why seagulls were swarming the eagle, Giometti said it could be for one of two reasons.

“Anytime there’s a big raptor around, other birds take notice. Most birds are fairly territorial so if an eagle comes by, gulls are going to mob it, harass it and try and get it to leave because if an eagle is there they’re all of a sudden at the bottom of the food chain,” he said.

Another possibility is that gulls were following the eagle to try and get a free meal.

“Gulls tend to be crafty when it comes to feeding,” he said. “If an eagle’s nearby … gulls will let a more competent raptor do the work of catching the fish or catching the duck and then once the prey has been captured, gulls will mob the raptor.”