Monday, April 6, 2009

Eagles in Central Europe

There is no shortage of junk of Youtube, but I stumbled across a worthwhile video today.

Here's a short video of golden eagles being flown on brown hare and roe deer in central Europe. It is quite good; the creator also made a brief video (that has already made the Internet rounds) of a well known "Christmas Meet" in Austria, where eagles were being flown in casts after roe through a snow-laden landscape.

There is also a goshawk hidden in there - which looks positively tiny in comparison. Many of these areas are devoid of rabbits, and even small goshawks become very proficient at taking brown hares. I particularly enjoy the final flight in the video, where an eagle overhauls a roe but just can't work her way up the head before being kicked off.

The video hints at the herds of roe that one can find in open fields in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. In many places the deer are considered pests, they are so numerous. The first roe I ever saw genuinely startled me. I was walking through chest-high, somewhat thick, rapeseed in Czech when I noticed something big shift in from of me. All of the sudden a lanky form sprang upwards and galloped out into the open. It was rather like flushing a pheasant at your feet - a characteristic explosion of movement that I had not anticipated at all.


Robert said...

The eagles don't get injured when they try and tackle the deer?
I'm linking you on my blogroll, like: chop chop.

Lauren said...

Cheers, Robert!

It is not unheard of, but eagles are surprisingly resilient when it comes to tackling larger quarry. Typically it is the larger female eagles that are used to regularly take roe deer. They quickly learn to go for the head and the experienced eagles can rack up an impressive head count over a season. Although it can be a bit of a rodeo!