One second, Big and Little, two osprey chicks on Hog Island in Maine, were relaxing in their nest. The next moment, an eagle swooped in and snatched one. A few seconds later, it returned to take the other.
The whole fowl affair (sorry) was captured Friday on a nature cam operated by explore.org in conjunction with the Audubon Society.
"The beauty of our cams is that it allows us to connect with nature in its highest form of purity. That said, the dark side of this intimacy is accepting that the natural world is not the Disney film we all hope for," Charlie Annenberg, the founder of explore.org, said. "The lesson for all of us is to appreciate the fragile world we live in and how delicate the balance between life and death is."
The nabbings occur at 33 seconds and 55 seconds of the video above.
While not unheard of, it was the first time such behavior from eagles had been witnessed at this site since the bird cam was installed in 2012. It offers a dramatic example of just how tough it is out there for birds.
The bird cam is still streaming, somewhat sadly, from the empty nest. The osprey parents, Rachel and Steve (named for ecologist Rachel Carson and Audubon's Dr. Stephen Kress), have returned to the nest. It's unlikely they will have eggs again this season.