I'm sorry but I agree with the moderators on this one. Looking at this image at 100% the eagle is not sharp (I am looking at the eye specifically). In my opinion the shutterspeed was just a hair too slow on this one.
Funny thing. I resubmitted the photo in its original state where the tree branches on the side was not blurred out. Bird is the same.
they accepted it.
could be over sharpening made this look OOF. but i do have to agree the focus is on the branch not the bird 100%. Love the shot
What I have started doing is submitting the original jpegs without alteration. The reason is that when nearly all of my first images were rejected, this was the reason why - noise grain and other problems with the editing. The only thing I now do to photos is remove artifacts (spots, dust particles). It was still rejected for commercial/artistic interest.
On the left is the before, the right is after.