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Mystery Solved: Golden Eagle Kills Deer
September 24, 2013 2:17 PM   Subscribe

"A camera trap intended for Siberian tiger research in southeastern Russia instead captured a golden eagle swooping on a yearling sika deer on December 1, 2011." ... "There were no large carnivore tracks in the snow, and it looked like the deer had been running and then just stopped and died," Kerley said in the statement. She and her colleagues pieced together the attack from these three images, culled from more than 7,000 collected by the camera trap over five months." Pictures.
posted by semaphore (32 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Reminds me of Haast's Eagle.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:26 PM on September 24, 2013


In the Western USA you can find sheep skulls with piercings from these raptor's talons. Full grown sheep, not just lambs. Previous threads here on Mongolian eagle hunting are pertinent.

They spend most of their time under normal conditions hunting plentiful smaller game, but the capability for big game hunting is there...
posted by bert2368 at 2:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Previously-ish. I mean, people were skeptical about the weight issue then... I guess wrongly so.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:29 PM on September 24, 2013


Holy crap!
posted by shelleycat at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2013


Death from a raptor from above is one of my unreasonable fears. I see a shadow go by and I duck.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:40 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do, a deer, a female deer,
Re, a drop of golden DEATH FROM ABOVE
posted by resurrexit at 2:42 PM on September 24, 2013 [27 favorites]


What a horrible death!
posted by michellenoel at 2:50 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Death from a raptor from above is one of my unreasonable fears.

Apparently not all that unreasonable...
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:50 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are flying dinosaurs. I was dove hunting this year and about 6 turkey vultures were keeping an eye on us ready to eat anything we left. It scarred the shit out of me.
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sort of unrelated, but there is a photo that's been going around tumblr for ages now of little mammalian tracks in the snow ending at the impression of wings, and for some reason people appear to think it is somehow a "bird fail". It confuses me that people do not realize that flying predators would not leave tracks in the snow.
posted by elizardbits at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


We love duck. Just sayin'.
posted by rtha at 2:59 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


OHCRAPEAGLE!
posted by localroger at 3:02 PM on September 24, 2013


cjorgensen: "Death from a raptor from above is one of my unreasonable fears. I see a shadow go by and I duck."

You would hate my yard in the summer. Large raptors nest in one of my trees. The hawks are super protective so as soon as there are babies in the nest I spend a lot of my outside time ducking and moving between cover. My UPS guy now runs from the road to my door. Three babies this year, they headed south about a week ago.
posted by the_artificer at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh deer.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


After that fake eagle video from Quebec, I am unreasonably skeptical of all stories involving golden eagles. Thanks Quebec!
posted by jacalata at 3:24 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


the_artificer, I am coming to your house next spring.

What kind of raptors?

Once I was on a lunchtime hike and the shadow of a local juvenile golden eagle passed over me - the bird was only maybe 20 or 30 feet over my head - and I suddenly understood what every ground squirrel in the next field was feeling.
posted by rtha at 3:28 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


rtha: "What kind of raptors?"

Swainson's Hawks

This year was odd in that once the chicks fledged they would follow me around while I worked outside. In seven years they've never done that before. It didn't make the parents happy.

There's also some Saw-whet Owls nesting here but the worst thing they do is leave headless mouse corpses on my air conditioner.
posted by the_artificer at 3:53 PM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Birds have a scary side that they conceal well.

In my previous jobs, I used to stand on the top of my 288-foot clock tower and watch the Peregrine Falcons hunt, and man, they weren't kidding. In fact, they'd hang in the breeze sometimes, motionless just thirty or forty feet from where I stood at the battlements of the tower, and just watch me. I mean—a Peregrine Falcon is small, maybe the size of a one liter bottle of Almond Smash, and I weigh substantially more than it does, and yet I'd get this tingly, nervous feeling that would build and build.

Yeah there, human. I'm no threat. Get a little closer to the edge. It's okay.

On the stairs, on my way back down, I felt a bit like I felt when I realized, years later, that most of my childhood bullies were considerably shorter and weaker than me.

A damn bird just bullied me off the top of my clock tower. Sheesh.

In front of my house, I've got an enormous bramble bush, just off to the side, that's like a music box. In the mornings, it fills with an orchestra of songbirds, and it's the place where my tiny saddlebag beagle likes to root while my dixie dingo bounds around on the other side of the yard.

One fine morning, as I held little Lou's leash, enjoying the dawn symphony, someone fired a small tactile missile at us. Lou leapt onto me, his dumb eyes full of desperation. In his cartoonish southern accent, the one only I can hear, he indicated his desires.

Take me back in! Take me back in! Take me back in!

"What the hell was that?" I said aloud, right as a seemingly enormous Cooper's Hawk launched out of the tangle of bramble, finch in beak, and soared up, circled around, and disappeared over the house.

Lou was desperate, alternating between trying to hide between my legs and jump up to my shoulder level.

Take me back in! Take me back in! Take me back in!
That got-dang hawk is gon' to swing down heah and eat me!
C'mon, let's go! C'mon! C'mon! I done peed already, take me back in!


I called in Daisy, let Lou run up to the porch, and we went inside.

The hawk became a regular feature of the neighborhood, and it was extraordinary to watch it come in low, all sleek and deadly and military, and just crash into that bramble bush at top speed. I was fascinated, albeit with a little charge of danger, but my tiny saddlebag beagle did not share my enthusiasm, and found a new favorite spot in the yard with no clear aerial approach. I thought maybe I was imagining it, but even in the back yard, if I see the hawk go over, and Lou sees it, he's ready to go in RIGHT NOW.

I have to wonder what he knows. He's a rescue who lived in the Carolina low country for a couple years before someone caught him and brought him north, and he's got a few scars on his back, neck, and head that...I dunno. Do birds catch beagles? Seems inconceivable, but—
posted by sonascope at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


So basically this is a dinosaur killing and eating a small mammal? This is one of the oldest stories ever told.
posted by brundlefly at 5:23 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


sonascope, that may explain the hawk that I saw dive into a bush a few months ago. I couldn't see if it caught anything, but at the time, I couldn't figure out exactly what it was doing.

Years ago I was sitting at a red light when I saw a pigeon flutter down into the opposite lane. It was followed almost immediately by the hawk (don't know what kind) that had knocked it down. That stopped traffic in both directions for a little while.
posted by Archer25 at 5:58 PM on September 24, 2013


Do birds catch beagles?

From 2003:

NEW YORK — Trained hawks employed to keep pigeons from making a mess on visitors in a Midtown park have been grounded because one of the birds mistook a Chihuahua as its lunch.

An 18-inch hawk swooped down and gouged the diminutive pooch with one of its talons while the dog was nosing around in the bushes of Bryant Park, behind the landmark New York Public Library.

The hawk was quickly separated from the pooch Tuesday afternoon and a park employee flagged down a cab so the dog's owner could take it to a veterinarian, said Richard Dillon, vice president of security for Bryant Park.


Even a small beagle is bigger than a chihuahua, so you probably don't have to worry about the Coop. Redtail and up, though, maybe. Depends on the bird.

One day, as we pulled into a parking spot across the street from our house, we noticed that feathers appeared to be...snowing from the eucalyptus trees above. We peered up, and there was a Coop (I think I'm remembering right) ripping up a pigeon. It glared at us.
posted by rtha at 6:07 PM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


... watch the Peregrine Falcons hunt, and man, they weren't kidding.

I used to have a senior ("old") ornithologist for a roommate. He was part of the network of people who raised and bred injured peregrines to try to re-introduce the young to the gene pool here in Alberta. He had lots of falconry stories. Peregrines hunt by essentially dive-bombing similar-sized birds and punching them in the midsection with their balled fists at high speeds. If they're able to carry the bird, they catch it in mid-air, bite its wings off to make it easier to carry, and take it home for lunch. I don't know if this is true, but he said there were stories of peregrines killing their handlers by stooping to smack them in the head the same way. They can also crush your wrist with their feet, so try not to look like a perch.

Now whenever I see a pair of pigeon wings on the ground in downtown Calgary, I just think "wow".
posted by sneebler at 6:22 PM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Peregrines have been seen killing golden eagles that fly too close to their aeries when there are nestlings to protect. When they get air superiority, there's damn little that 200 mph stoop can't kill.

They are clever, too. There was some fabulous footage in the _America_ series on Discovery where a peregrine went after some pelicans that got too close to her cliffside nest. She'd dive on them, grab their beaks, and yank up, and peel away as they tumbled helplessly into the surf.
posted by tavella at 8:15 PM on September 24, 2013


And here I thought all eagles were fishers. Guess you learn something every day.
posted by Canageek at 8:26 PM on September 24, 2013


And here I thought all eagles were fishers.
Ospreys are the exclusive fishers.
posted by zakur at 8:54 PM on September 24, 2013


And here I thought all eagles were fishers.

Ospreys are the exclusive fishers.


Not only that, but Harpy eagles specialize in hunting monkeys.

Let's just hope there isn't any way golden eagles start talking to Harpy eagles.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:15 AM on September 25, 2013


Birds have a scary side that they conceal well.

Even my chickens, which are absolutely hysterical to watch as they run around, are like that. Sure they'll happily eat chicken feed and cracked corn but woe unto any insect or worm that catches their eyes. They're amazingly efficient predators as long as you're tiny prey.
posted by tommasz at 6:45 AM on September 25, 2013


How much would you say that deer weighed?
posted by HotToddy at 9:31 AM on September 25, 2013


One day, as we pulled into a parking spot across the street from our house, we noticed that feathers appeared to be...snowing from the eucalyptus trees above. We peered up, and there was a Coop (I think I'm remembering right) ripping up a pigeon. It glared at us.

I'm imagining it pausing then going, "WHAT?"
posted by brundlefly at 9:55 AM on September 25, 2013


"Catch your own damn lunch!"

Said every raptor ever.
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on September 25, 2013


the_artificer: "You would hate my yard in the summer. Large raptors nest in one of my trees. The hawks are super protective so as soon as there are babies in the nest I spend a lot of my outside time ducking and moving between cover. My UPS guy now runs from the road to my door. Three babies this year, they headed south about a week ago."

My yard is the opposite. It is so full of smaller birds that the big raptors stay away. Little birds do not remain quiet and calm around hawks, they make a shit ton of noise and try to annoy them out of the area. I worry that they may be a bit too well adjusted to human presence, though. They will fly within a foot or two of me. What can I say, dinosaurs are comfortable around me.

I actually wouldn't mind a couple of hawks or owls or something in the area to eat the damn mice. The mouse population is reasonably low thanks to other predators, but I'd just as soon have zero mice living under my garage. I would also like more spiders and bats to eat the damn mosquitoes, but I don't know how to attract them to the area.
posted by wierdo at 2:04 PM on September 25, 2013


Ospreys are the exclusive fishers.

Bald Eagles fish.

Eagles in other countries fish, too. If you google Eagles Fish you'll get African ones anyway.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:03 PM on September 25, 2013


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