Bald eagle battles brother in locked-talon beatdown. Sounds pretty epic, right? Well, the truth is a little less exciting than you might imagine.  

When eagle rivals fight, you might expect a tense aerial battle, but this showdown filmed recently in Augusta, Maine was more of a battle of wills. It looks like the two birds of prey are just holding hands (or having a really boring arm wrestling match).

Contrary to popular belief, which holds that a bald eagle's talons become involuntarily locked when they close around an object, the birds can in fact release them at will, they’re just extremely determined animals.  

"There is no involuntary locking mechanism," explains the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "The bird has simply decided the meal [or in this case, the battle] is worth it."

Each of the four razor-sharp talons on a bald eagle's foot is made of keratin, just like our nails. Add strong leg muscles to the mix and you've got an incredibly strong grip. 

In the end, two local police officers (with the help of Maine Warden Service, who specialize in working with wildlife) managed to separate the birds – and their inflated egos. Reportedly, the raptors were seen flying high above the city later that day.  


Top header image: Don Fox, Flickr