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Thursday, March 31, 2011

That's one way to pluck a pheasant: Incredible pictures show a bald eagle swooping to grab its next meal


Lunch on the go: Chris Bailey captured this amazing photograph of a Bald Eagle making a meal of a pheasant

This pheasant turned out to be not so plucky when a hungry bald eagle swooped down and took it away for its lunch.

British-born photographer Chris Bailey had been taking some snaps of a brace of pheasants in the snow when the large bird of prey ominously loomed into view.

In one swift movement it picked one of the bewildered birds up by the scruff of its neck with its lethal talons and flew off with it.

Stunned Mr Bailey, 54, tracked the eagle which carried the game bird to a quieter spot where it promptly made a meal out of it.

Mr Bailey captured the dramatic moment on camera on the snow-covered fields of South Dakota, US, where he lives and works as a service director for Ford.

'I was out taking some pictures of ring-necked pheasants and I noticed this bald eagle swoop down from out of the sky,' he explained.

'I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

'He came down and picked one of the birds up, flew around and returned to the same spot and proceeded to eat it in front of me and devoured it.'

Catch of the day: The eagle swoops to prize the bemused pheasant from a snowy South Dakota plain

Mr Bailey added: 'I was worried that I didn't get the pictures at first because the eagle flew away from me with the pheasant but when I later looked at the pictures I realised they were very good.'

'We have seen more and more birds of prey go after game birds. They are normally fish eaters but many of the lakes have frozen over in the cold weather.'

The bald eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus in Latin - has a wingspan of up to 96 inches, can reach speeds of up to 45mph and can live up to 30 years.

Its diet normally consists of fish like trout or salmon but it also goes after small mammals such as rabbits, hares, beavers and deer fawns.

Meals on wings: This unfortunate pheasant was plucked away from its companions by a hungry Bald Eagle

source: dailymail


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