Zero chance I’d get that close to bald eagles if they were fighting… or humping, or whatever they’re doing. It could be either, based on this explanation.
Once attracted to a potential partner, the bald eagle may begin one of several elaborate courtship rituals called “cartwheeling.” In this magnificient display, the eagles soar to dizzying heights, lock talons, and begin a breathtakingly death-defying plunge to the earth. Just moments before striking the ground, the eagles disengage and once again soar to the heavens. If the timing is not perfect, certain death awaits this pair of speeding bullets.
Eagles that are in combat with each other also may interlock their talons and fall in cartwheel fashion toward the ground. During the 1980s, this happened in Michigan with a first-year bald eagle (non-breeding) that had been hacked and released in Tennessee earlier that year. It fell to a highway, where it was hit by a truck and died from its injuries a few days later.
Either way… that dude is crazy to be that close. Guess he’s never seen this photo.
Look at those talons. Oh, another potential explanation for the lead photo? It’s fake.