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Australian eagle steals video camera, flies for 70 miles, poses for selfie

Wildlife rangers in Australia who set up a motion-sensor camera alongside a river in the hope of capturing footage of crocodiles ended up with a video of a sea eagle peering down the lens after the bird picked it up and flew with it across 70 miles of the country’s barren landscape.

The camera went missing in May soon after it was set up at a gorge on the Margaret River in Western Australia’s Kimberly district, with local ranger Roneil Skeen assuming it must have fallen into the water.

However, to his understandable surprise, it was discovered a few weeks ago some considerable distance away from where it’d been set up.

Snippets of captured video (below) revealed the culprit to be a juvenile sea eagle, one that clearly had yet to learn to distinguish between meat – morsels of which had been placed on the riverbank to tempt the crocodiles – and image-capturing devices. Of course, it may simply have been that the bird is a photography enthusiast that knows a nice shooter when it sees one.

Either way, the bird grabbed the camera, which was about 4-inches (10 cm) long and 2-inches (5 cm) wide, and flew it to another part of the region, filming bits of the Australian outback along the way.

“It was pretty amazing because it’s one of the first camera traps to ever get picked up,” Skeen told ABC News.

A video posted on YouTube captures the moment the sea eagle snatches the camera before flying off. With the landscape passing by a little way below, we can see and hear the bird’s wings flapping as it makes a swift getaway carrying its stolen loot.

After putting its catch on the ground, the eagle administers several inquisitive pecks before finally peering down the barrel of the lens, showing its face to one and all in an act that proves the selfie – a word that happened to originate in Australia and last month was selected as Word of the Year 2013 – is not just the preserve of humans.

[via ABC News]

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