Clash of the Talons: Or how one hungry eagle
outfoxed a rival over dinner
It’s a confrontation that ends in
defeat for one of the most majestic birds of the skies. A golden eagle
is robbed of his prey in Arctic conditions after a mid-air fight with a
stronger white-tailed eagle.
To capture the extraordinary sequence of images, British
photographer Richard Costin spent five days wrapped in several sleeping
bags in a hide in Northern Norway, where the temperature was -10C.
Eventually he saw the golden eagle eating a
fox, and the white-tailed eagle moving in. Second by second, he recorded
what followed: the fearsome clash of talons, the moment the golden
eagle knew it was time to retreat and lick his wounds, and finally the
victor with his spoils.
A golden eagle turns his pitiless gaze on the
Aha! A dead fox offers a free feast, never mind
the biting wind
But high up, a passing white-tailed eagle spots
the chance of a fast food robbery
Steathily does it - the white-tailed, also known
as the sea eagle, controls his approach to gain most surprise
The two square up on a branch, the white-tailed
drawing himself up to full majesty
The fight starts: Feathers and snow fly, as the
two giant birds of prey deploy their deadliest weapons - those long
talons with razor-sharp points
The imperious white-tailed eagle gains the upper
hand while the possibly younger golden eagle looks flustered
The golden eagle, humiliated and hungry, retires
to lick his wounds
The spoils to the victor and, it seems, a moment
Taken in northern Norway, they show
the Golden Eagle arriving at the carcass in a blizzard only for the
White Tailed Eagle to muscle in on the action.
After tussling claw to claw, the White Tailed Eagle was
victorious and chased away the crows to claim its prize.
from Kent, said: 'To take these images I spent nine hours a day for
five days in a small wooden hide on a remote hill in Norway.
temperature outside was approximately -10 and I was well wrapped up in
several sleeping bags as I wasn't able to move much to keep warm.
'It was essential to be in before
sunrise and out after sunset so the eagles did not associate the hide
'Some of the
days I would only get a few moments with an eagle outside and others
blizzard images were taken on several occasions, these blizzards were
short lived, usually no more than 20 minutes at a time but were intense.
'The eagles were unfazed
by these and it is a testament as to how incredible these hardy birds
are. The moment I captured a Golden and White Tailed eagle together in
the blizzard made all the waiting worth-while.'