A photographer has recently captured an epic battle between an eagle and a fox when the former dramatically snatched a rabbit off the latter’s mouth in San Juan Islands, Washington.
What made this battle even more dramatic was the fact that it happened in the air at a height of more than 20 feet.
“Eagles really don’t like to waste a lot of effort in getting their food, so they look for easy opportunities,” photographer Kevin Ebi wrote on his blog.
“A couple of days ago, I captured an especially dramatic act of thievery.”
“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.”
The incident happened when Kevin was watching kits, young foxes, play and hunt on the prairie in the San Juan Islands.
“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 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.”
The battle in the air lasted nearly 8 seconds. Finally, the fox gave up the fight after realizing that it can’t win the battle in the air – the eagle’s territory.
The eagle dropped the fox and despite falling 20 feet, it didn’t experience any injury.
“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.
“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. But I’ve been a nature photographer 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.”
The social media users reacted in different ways to the epic battle.