27 April 2009

Rabbit raptured by raptor

One of the early posts on TYWKIWDBI was the top photo recording the last moments of a small mammal at the talons of a Great Grey Owl:
I wondered about the absence of a "hole" in the snow at the capture site (having seen such in the backyard here in Wisconsin when hawks grab squirrels), but this comment may be relevant -

And there would not have to be an "impact" mark in the snow, if the owl plucked the rabbit off the ground without fully landing. The wingprints would still be explained by the hard downstroke of the wings as the bird "pulled up" at the moment it grabbed the rabbit. The owl could have used the same "touch-and-go" technique that eagles and other birds routinely use to catch fish.
Since nothing ever disappears on the internet and all interesting items continue to cycle endlessly, the photo showed up today accompanied by another even more impressive one (second above) taken at Mammoth Hot Springs about 8 years ago.

Top photo credit Susan Barstow. Bottom photo credit Bob Fuhrmann.


  1. I am not saying those pictures aren't raptor kills... there are plenty of photos online to corroborate but I thought it was funny how similar this was to the above photos (and so much less awesome).

  2. Nice link. There's a difference in the wingspan of the snowprint, but it's still an impressive photo.

    I would echo the comment at your link re the "scare factor" of flushing a grouse. I've only encountered them in midsummer, not in winter, but when they flush it's like having a machine gun go off next to your feet - unforgettable.

  3. And the worst is when there are several in a field because it never just becomes annoying it is still startling even after the 6th time

  4. I still like the comment somebody left on J-Walk when he posted this picture:

    "I see, a very rare mutant rabeagle landed there and then strolled away - fascinating."


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