A fox captured a rabbit but quickly lost its prey when an eagle swooped in to try to steal the meal.
The incredible sight was captured on video by Zachary Hartje at American Camp on San Juan Island, Washington.
Hartje told ABC7 that the eagle carried the fox about 10 feet into the air and traveled around 50 feet before it let go of the rabbit. The fox appeared to be unharmed, he said, and added that he wasn’t sure if the eagle snagged the rabbit.
“I was shocked and amazed,” Hartje told ABC. “I have never seen this happen before, and no one else who I talked to there or on the Island has ever seen it happen before.”
Photographer Kevin Ebi also witnessed the “battle in the sky”, and shared a series of dramatic photos of the event in on his blog.
“There is no question that bald eagles are skilled hunters. They can spot a fish from a mile away and fly to it in under a minute,” Ebi explained in a blog post.
“But they’re also masters of something scientists call kleptoparasitism: the art of stealing food from others. In my book The Year of the Eagle, I documented bald eagles stealing food from crows, great blue herons and even other eagles. A couple of days ago, however, I captured an especially dramatic act of thievery. I saw a bald eagle steal a rabbit from a young red fox. Even more impressive: at times, this battle played out more than 20 feet in the air.”
For more nature photography from Ebi, check out his Living Wilderness Facebook page.
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