Fatal eagle-hawk battle caught on video in New Jersey

Image from a video of a fatal eagle-hawk battle at an eagles' nest at Duke Farms in Somerset County, N.J.
Image from a video of a fatal eagle-hawk battle at an eagles' nest at Duke Farms in Somerset County, N.J.
Posted: March 30, 2013

Ever see a predator commit suicide?

In a video captured at Duke Farms, a Central Jersey estate turned environmental center, a red-tailed hawk dares to fly at a bald eagles' nest where eggs were about to hatch.

In a major miscalculation, the hawk fails to see an eagle sitting on the nest and looking directly at it, or, cocky from triumphing over mice and little bunnies, thinks it's super-sneaky-fast or king of any beak-and-claw fight.

Four seconds into the video, the hawk appears.

Six seconds into the video, the eagle is stomping on the hawk like some feathery doormat.

It's hard to tell how long the hawk survives - maybe 30 seconds? - since the beatdown/bite-down lasts a few minutes.

Video: " Eagle-Hawk Death Match in New Jersey."

The eggs hatched the next day.

"In 2008, Duke Farms installed a webcam on a tree adjacent to the nest to provide a live look at the daily lives of the eagles," according to Duke Farms' eagle cam page. "In partnership with The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, lesson plans were created to facilitate place based educational opportunities for students. Between the general public and classrooms up and down the east coast, the Duke Farms Eagle Cam has many fans – over 6 million viewers and building!"

Duke Farms, set on 2,740 acres in Hillsborough, Somerset County, was the longtime estate of heiress Doris Duke, who died in 1993.

The grounds opened to the public last May, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation foundation spent $45 million to create a "haven for wildlife, including 30 endangered species and 230 varieties of birds, the bald eagle and the great blue heron among them," with community games and classes, according to the New York Times.

For more, go to www.dukefarms.org.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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