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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Golden Eagle surrenders meal to White Tailed Eagle

Golden Eagle surrenders meal to White Tailed Eagle

The Golden Eagle is known as the king of birds but its reputation has taken a dent after one of the species was forced to surrender its dinner to a rival.

Golden Eagle and a White Tailed Eagle fight over a dead fox Photo: National News and Pictures / Richard Costin

British wildlife photographer Richard Costin spent five days in freezing conditions in northern Norway to capture the pictures.

They show the Golden Eagle arriving at the carcass of a fox amid a blizzard only for a White Tailed Eagle to muscle in on the action.

After tussling claw to claw, the White Tailed Eagle was victorious and chased away the crows to claim its prize.

Mr Costin, from Kent, said: "To take these images I spent nine hours a day for five days in a small wooden hide on a remote hill in Norway.

"The temperature outside was approximately -10 and I was well wrapped up in several sleeping bags as I wasn't able to move much to keep warm.

"The wait needed to be 9 hours straight as it was essential to be in before sunrise and out after sunset so the eagles did not associate the hide with humans.

"Some of the days I would only get a few moments with an eagle outside and others several hours.

"The blizzard images were taken on several occasions, these blizzards were short lived, usually no more than 20 minutes at a time but were intense.

"The eagles were unfazed by these and it is a testament as to how incredible these hardy birds are.

"The moment I captured a Golden and White Tailed eagle together in the blizzard made all the waiting worth-while.

"It was simply astounding to see these two squabble just metres from me.

"The White Tailed Eagle was the winner in all the confrontations.

"Each time there was a fight neither bird seemed to get injured but Golden Eagle knew when it was time to leave.

"I had to remain as still as possible even within the hide, as these wild eagles are very sensitive to disturbance and any movements or noise detected would ruin any further chances of sightings for that day.

"Blasting away with the camera on a first sighting would almost certainly result in scaring them away, so I had to keep my trigger finger in check to ensure a good session."

Richard added: "I have seen these birds in captivity many times, but each and every time I saw these wild raptors it was an amazing privilege.

"I will never forget the first sighting I had after several hours of waiting.

"It was a truly magical experience and I was honoured to have been able to capture this beauty to share with others."

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