Mouse fights back?

It was enthralling to watch the juvenile Black-shouldered Kite hovering above the grasslands, it was less pleasant to watch it prepare its catch.

 

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) – juvenile with mouse
1/1000, f/7.1, ISO 800

 

When I saw this happening it looked as though the hapless mouse was fighting back. Looking at the image, details of the mouse’s injuries are visible and they look substantial so perhaps the mouse had been held upright by the kite and was dropping back to the post. I hope the injuries, along with the shock of being captured, were enough to have ended the mouse’s life.

Black-shoulder Kites are about 36cm and weigh up to about 300g. Adult birds are stark grey with white heads and underparts and black shoulder patches. Juveniles have a warm russet wash and pale tips to their wings.

 

 

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) – juvenile with mouse
1/1000, f/7.1, ISO 800

 

These birds have remarkable eyesight. I watched this bird for some time as it flew back and forth along the coastal grasslands. Occasionally it would hover for a while before moving on, less frequently it would hover and dive.

I have a series of images showing the mouse being skinned but my stomach’s not up to processing them today – sorry about that.

 

Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 3200

Instead I thought I’d finish with an image of the Swamp Wallaby that was watching the proceedings and no doubt feeling pleased to be too big to be considered edible by the local raptors.

Happy birding, and wallabying

Kim

 

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12 comments to Mouse fights back?

  • Dona

    looks to me like that little mouse was saying a prayer before being devoured, Great photography though Kim.

    • lirralirra

      That’s a sweet thought Dona, the mouse saying its prayers at the same time as the kite’s prayers have been answered 🙂

  • Debbie

    First image is a prize winner.

  • Peter

    I don’t think size is relative and the wallaby would be good tucker for a pair of Wedgetails. I recall two taking it in turns swooping an Eastern Grey Kangaroo that was cornered in a paddock for hours. They may have been waiting for the joey to emerge or just tire out the kangaroo because they would not let it rest.

    • lirralirra

      I’ve seen videos of scenes like you’re mentioning, maybe it was one of yours – amazing to watch. Luckily for this wallaby though I’ve not spotted wedgies out there and the local raptors I was referring to are BS Kites, kestrels and swampies – though I’m sure they’d make the most of any opportunity to spend time with a small or sick wallaby.

  • Tam

    Eww that’s well rotten. Poor mouse! Funny kangaroo!! Beautiful photos though.

    • lirralirra

      The luck of the draw eh, prey or predator. I think this is the first time my images have been rightly called ‘well rotten’ and ‘beautiful’ in the same comment, thank you Tam

  • Alison Moore

    Brilliant but poignant shots Kim, c’est la vie eh?

  • I too hope the mouse’s demise was quick. They need to eat and I know that, but my wimpy tummy doesn’t like to see it.
    And yes, the swamp wallaby is indeed thanking its lucky stars it is too big for the Kite.

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