Photos capture golden eagle attacking deer in Russia

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
A golden eagle's unusual attack on a sika deer was recorded on camera in Russia's Lazovsky State Nature Reserve on Dec. 1, 2011.

A camera set up in the far east Russian wilderness has documented the rare, dramatic moment when a golden eagle took down a young deer.

Researchers Linda Kerley and her husband Misha Borisenko of the Zoological Society of London had mounted a camera trap in the hopes of photographing endangered Siberian tigers, they told media, but instead they found images of a golden eagle, its wings spread over the back of a young deer as it tried to pull away from its attacker.

Bambi didn't make it: Kerley said she found the sika deer's carcass nearby the camera and she was confused at first, because there were no tracks in the snow.

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"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," Kerley said in a release by EurekAlert.

The photos appeared in the Journal of Raptor Research this month alongside an article about the unusual attack. New Scientist reported this was the first documented case of a golden eagle preying on a deer; however, they do sometimes eat big prey such as coyotes, and on at least one occasion, a golden eagle has flown off with a brown bear cub.

A different species of the predator bird, a bald eagle, made headlines in 2011 after scooping up a baby deer and then dropping it onto power lines in Montana, knocking out the neighbourhood's electricity.