Two bald eagles drew a crowd in Portland, Oregon after residents noticed the large birds seemingly trapped in a tree on Monday. Clutching one another by the talons, the two seemed unable to leave their perch. According to ABC News, however, it was simply a fight for territorial dominance that lasted a little longer than normal.

“People are fascinated by the eagles. They are huge and majestic and beautiful,” bystander Kate Carder told KATU.

To the onlookers below, it looked as if the birds needed a helping hand. Members from a local Audubon Society chapter borrowed a bucket truck from a friendly tree company to see if they could separate the males. On closer inspection, the would-be-rescuers realized that the birds had the situation well in hand—or in claw, that is.

Bystanders said that the eagles did not seem to notice the humans for most of the four-hour battle. When approached by the bucket truck, the eagles stopped fighting and quickly flew off in separate directions.

“As soon as we got within three feet of the birds, they recognized we were there, and they just flew off,” said Audubon Society wildlife care manager Lacy Campbell, who was in the cherry picker.

Fighting between eagles can lead to serious injuries. The battles are usually airborne and conducted by grasping each other’s talons. Occasionally the birds do get stuck together, although that is rare.

The birds in this case flew off before they could be inspected for injuries.

Image screenshot of video on

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