Thursday, February 18, 2010

Golden Eagle attacks deer!

The same day that I posted Lisa Sells' fantastic pics of the unfortunate Ruddy Duck meeting its demise at the talons of a Bald Eagle, Aaron Boone sent me a link to the Illinois Birders' Forum. There, Eric Walters had posted a spectacular sequence of photos of a Golden Eagle attacking a White-tailed Deer!

Talk about tough! Goldens are well-known for their ferocity; many of you have probably seen the photos of one not so gently shooing a fox away from a desirable carcass. Somewhere I once saw a video of one that was sicced on some other species of small deer, which it knocked to the ground. There is another widely circulated video of a Golden Eagle knocking a goat off a high cliff face to its death; the eagle presumably then made a meal of it.

I have said it before about various animals, and will say it again: if these things were much bigger, we'd all be dead.

A few of Eric's photos are below; GO HERE for his entire pictorial story.

An incredible encounter at the Nachusa Grasslands in the Lincoln State. By now, the deer has obviously spotted incoming enemy aircraft and is high-tailing ot out of there.

Deer are fleet of foot, but a Golden Eagle in full downward thrust is far swifter. One has to wonder what was going through the deer's mind - they certainly are not accustomed to aerial attacks.

It's hard to believe an eagle would attempt to take down a decent-sized white-tail doe, but it looks like that is what it's attempting. Apparently it raked th beast with its formidable talons.

After the not so gentle back-scratching, the deer jigged hard and shot off another direction, shaking off the eagle. In this angle, we can see just how big an eagle is - Goldens have a wingspan that stretches to nearly seven feet. A bruiser can tip the scales at over ten pounds, too, but c'mon! A deer?! This is true ferocity!


Julie Zickefoose said...


Reading Rachel Dickinson's book on falconry gave me a whole new outlook on golden eagles--the falconer she profiled feared them above anything else, because they kept killing his hawks. You don't think of peregrines being victims to any other raptor, generally, but apparently golden eagles consider them rivals and rub them out. Killer photos. I'm glad the deer got away. That would not have been a good way to go.

flux biota. said...

what an amazing set of photos.

Anonymous said...

What a story, pictures. Thanks for passing along.
PS. had our first 2 male red wing blackbirds in Pike co this week.
Gary Wayne