Photos of an eagle attacking a deer – taken in southern Russia – have amazed people around the world. The camera was actually set up with the intention of taking pictures of Siberian tigers in their natural habitat. Instead, it captured vivid images of the moment that the eagle latched on to the hapless deer.
Dr Linda Kerley from the Zoological Society of London said: “I’ve been assessing deer causes of death in Russia for 18 years – this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this.” She continued:
“I saw the deer carcass first as I approached the trap on a routine check to switch out memory cards and change batteries, but something felt wrong about it. There were no large carnivore tracks in the snow, and it looked like the deer had been running and then just stopped and died. It was only after we got back to camp that I checked the images from the camera and pieced everything together. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
However, the phenomenon of eagles attacking deer, other animals, and even humans is not new. There was a recorded case two years ago in which a bald eagle in Montana killed a baby deer but couldn’t quite manage to keep hold of such heavy prey as it attempted to fly off with it.
The eagle dropped the dead fawn mid-air just as it was flying over some power lines. The carcass got snagged on the wire and caused a neighborhood-wide power outtage.
In 2008, an eagle was captured on video attacking a mountain goat. You can see in the graphic video above that the force of the attack knocked the goat off the side of the mountain. It fell hundreds of feet to the ground, at which point the eagle attacked the body.
So. maybe this eagle attacking a deer should not have come as such a surprise after all.