Scary moment an eagle launches a mid-air attack on a swan more than twice its size

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is the moment when an unsuspecting swan is ferociously attacked in mid-flight by an eagle who is half its size.

The adult trumpeter swan was flying over a river when the bald eagle swooped out of nowhere bearing its talons.

The eagle, with its massive two metre-wide wings outstretched, landed on the swan.

But remarkably after a five second struggle the plucky swan escaped the eagle's clutches and managed to fly down to the water.

Smarting from its defeat the eagle, with its distinctive dark brown and white feathers, headed for some nearby trees.

The stunning spectacle was captured by an amateur photographer Kelly Munday.

The mum-of-two was watching the swan fly with a mate over the Lakelse River, in Terrace, British Columbia, when the eagle attacked.

She said: 'I was photographing the swans when the bald eagle came out of nowhere and attacked one of them.

'They struggled for about five seconds and then the swan broke free, flew down to the water and seemed to be fine.

'It was a spectacular few seconds and I was lucky enough to capture it.'

The bald eagle normally eats smaller prey such as seagulls and fish but is known for its opportunist nature.

Grahame Madge, a conservation spokesman for the RSPB, said: 'The bald eagle, America's national symbol, is often believed to be a supreme predator.

'However, these 'magnificent' birds are usually happiest feeding on fish or scavenging for carrion along the tideline.

'It was clearly an ambitious bird if it felt able to take on a bird the size of a trumpeter swan - one of the few birds even larger than a bald eagle.'


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