Finland, Golden Eagle, Natural History, Natural History, Predation, Reindeer, Video, Videos, White-tailed Eagle
A BBC natural history film crew gathered the extraordinary footage along a reindeer migration route in northern Finland.
It finally proves this eagle species does occasionally hunt reindeer, something suggested by forensic evidence and the local Sami people.
The crew filmed the behaviour while capturing footage of the reindeer migration for the BBC natural history series Life, though the images were shot at too far a distance to be included in the final cut of the high definition programme.
In the last 100 yards it went into a low powerful glide and hit the back of a calf
Television producer Dr Ted Oakes, cameraman Mr Barrie Britton and scientist Mr Harri Norberg set out to film the hunt along the northern edge of Finland.
For his PhD thesis Mr Norberg has spent the past few years studying how predators interact with the reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), which are known as caribou in North America.
Mr Norberg would tag calves, then search out those that had stopped moving to find out what had killed them.
By examining the bodies and the size and shape of claw, bite or talon marks, he ascertained that the majority of reindeer calves killed in the region had been attacked by eagles. …
More often than not the golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) appeared to attack white calves, rather than tan or brown ones, though the crew did not know why.
According to Mr Norberg, it is usually immature golden eagles that kill the calves.
However, he also believes the birds occasionally hunt adult reindeer.
Another larger species of eagle lives in the region, the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), but this bird is less aggressive than the golden eagle, and will often be chased off a reindeer carcass by its smaller relative.
The Sami people that live in the area say they have seen white-tailed eagles also killing reindeer, but this behaviour has yet to be scientifically documented.
Hat tip to the News Junkie.