How would you feel if you were on your way home proudly clutching your hard-earned food, when all of a sudden somebody jumps you, snatches away your sandwich and does a runner? You’d be furious, wouldn’t you? Spare a thought then for this poor red fox, whose rabbit was dramatically stolen by a cheeky bald eagle on the San Juan Islands, WA, just recently.
The bald eagle is a symbol of America, powerful, graceful and fearsome. However, quite aptly one could say, it is also known as a master thief, quite happy to steal food from others whenever the opportunity arises. “Eagles really don’t like to waste a lot of effort in getting their food, so they look for easy opportunities,” Kevin told Bored Panda.
“A couple of days ago, I captured an especially dramatic act of thievery between these wild animals,” he wrote on his blog. “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.”
Kevin was on the San Juan Islands watching wildlife, namely young foxes, called kits, play and hunt on the prairie. “A red fox caught a rabbit and was carrying it across the meadow,” he said. “I panned my camera with it to capture the action. Then behind me, I heard the cry of a bald eagle. I turned around and saw it approaching fast. I knew it wanted the rabbit. I intently trained my camera on the fox bracing for a split second of the action.”
“To my surprise, the scene was even more dramatic than I expected. I thought the fox would drop the rabbit, giving the eagle an easy dinner. Instead, the fox, with its jaw still clenched on the rabbit, inadvertently got snagged by the bald eagle. The eagle lifted the young fox and rabbit into the sky triggering an even more dramatic struggle.”
That’s one feisty fox! The entire airborne battle lasted around 8 seconds, bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘flying fox.’ Finally, after realizing that this battle cannot be won, the fox gave up the fight and the eagle dropped it from a height of around 20 feet. While taking a pretty heavy landing, the fox showed no signs of injury from its flight. “It shook off the encounter and resumed playing with its fellow kits. I took several pictures of it after the ordeal and couldn’t find a single scratch,” Kevin said.
“I suspect the eagle thought that since it was a very young fox, the fox probably would have been scared by the eagle and would have dropped the rabbit,” Kevin explained to Bored Panda. “It was a very unique experience. I’ve seen bald eagles steal food from crows, great blue herons, and other eagles. I’ve never seen an act of theft like that where an eagle, fox, and rabbit participate together. But I’ve been working on wildlife photography for nearly 20 years, I believe every animal has a story to tell.”
“Images that tell a story — rather than just being pretty pictures — are my favorite. That’s what I work toward”
And what a story the eagle, fox, and rabbit turned out to be!