Eagle Vs. Deer: Camera Trap Shows Golden Eagle Capturing Sika Deer
Sep. 23, 2013 — A camera trap set out for endangered Siberian (Amur) tigers in the Russian Far East photographed something far more rare: a golden eagle capturing a young sika deer.
The three images only cover a two-second period, but show an adult golden eagle clinging to the deer's back. Its carcass was found two weeks later, just a few yards from the camera, initially puzzling researchers.
The paper and images appear in the September issue of the Journal of Raptor Research. Authors include Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Jonathan Slaght of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
"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." said lead author Dr. Linda Kerley of ZSL, who runs the camera trap project. "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."