Requiem for the steppenwolf
April 8, 2009 12:35 AM   Subscribe

posted by darkstar at 12:55 AM on April 8, 2009

that is a big big big bird.
(over my house)
posted by sexyrobot at 1:01 AM on April 8, 2009

Oh snap how hardcore are those birds. I've witnessed African vultures tear carcasses to shreds, but to see a bird taking down a feral wolf sure would be something.
posted by pyrex at 1:09 AM on April 8, 2009

The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
posted by The Tensor at 1:17 AM on April 8, 2009

Even though the Mongol warlord shouts that down with a hearty WRONG, I think I'd pick it over Conan's answer.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 2:11 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't understand how the eagle survived the encounter without broken wings. There's a point in the video where the eagle is on its back, and the wolf is standing over it.
posted by zippy at 3:45 AM on April 8, 2009

TWO birds? That's just cheating!
posted by orme at 4:00 AM on April 8, 2009

That is incredible. Thanks for posting this.
posted by RussHy at 5:22 AM on April 8, 2009

From WP:
The Aquila genus has a nearly worldwide distribution. The more powerful types are used in falconry; for example Golden Eagles have reportedly been used to hunt wolves [3] in Kazakhstan, and are now used by the Kazakh eagle hunters to hunt foxes and other large prey, as they are in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan.[4] Most are primarily ground-oriented but will occasionally take birds. Eagles are not used as widely in falconry as other birds of prey, due to the lack of versatility in the larger species (they primarily hunt over large open ground), the greater potential danger to other people if hunted in a widely populated area, and the difficulty of training and managing an eagle.
ie. they can go after people. I guess we won't see that video.
posted by stbalbach at 5:57 AM on April 8, 2009

posted by eatdonuts at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2009

Needs to be combined with this.
posted by you at 7:31 AM on April 8, 2009

What happens when the falcon decides he's calling the shots now and wants YOU to take down the wolf?
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on April 8, 2009

Golden Eagles are pretty awesome (and I mean that in the literal sense of the word; they are awe-inspiring). Some crazy eagle-related stories:

Golden eagle attacks, kills, and consumes mountain goat (w/ video)
Eagle attacks boy (Northern Michigan, 2008)

There are also a fair number of reports of children or small adults being picked up and carried by large birds of prey. (There are, however, some skeptics, although they may just be referring to bald eagles rather than the larger goldens.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:19 AM on April 8, 2009

Fascinatingly gruesome but annoyingly edited.
posted by binturong at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2009

The Bug Pictures recently had some nice pictures of eagle hunters in Kyrgyzstan.
posted by homunculus at 11:54 AM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


The wolf may be standing over the eagle, but what you can't see is that the eagle probably has both of its talons sunk deeply into the wolf's throat: game and point eagle.

Eagles are relatively slow fliers compared to, say peregrine falcons which can hit speeds of over 180 miles per hour in a dive (the act of diving is called "stooping" and from whence, "She stoops to conquer ..."). Eagles kill by the use of their extremely powerful grip and talons, coupled with the serious damage that they can do with their beaks. Falcons, on the other hand, kill by the sheer force of impact, using their talons as clubs with which they strike their prey at the end of the stoop. Rather like being hit by a bullet, the sheer dispersal of energy doing the damage.

Basically, what you see with the eagles in these videos is pretty typical of all the broad-winged hawks ... they are often bowled over by their prey, but if they have those talons sunk in, it's pretty much over.

I was rather torn by the videos; two of my favorite predators, turned on each other by the most craven of predators ... (though to their credit, these falconers are not doing this for "enjoyment").

Good find, hortense!
posted by aldus_manutius at 12:09 PM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Er, that should be 'Big Picture', not 'Bug Pictures'.

Though bug pictures can be very nice.
posted by homunculus at 1:03 PM on April 8, 2009

Just an aside to note that the phrase "She stoops to conquer" is in reference to the protagonist of the comedy by Goldsmith. She poses as a barmaid (stooping down in society) in order to win her love, thus the irony of self-abnegation to achieve victory. In this sense, the term more closely approximates the colloquial meaning of "bending down".


BTW, I never knew falcons could get that much speed in a dive. That's off the hook!
posted by darkstar at 12:51 AM on April 11, 2009

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