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Birdchick Blog: More on Golden Eagle vs. Fox

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More on Golden Eagle vs. Fox

Remember that photo we were debating about before Christmas of the golden eagle attacking a fox? I know goldens will go for foxes--no debate from me on that one. But this has the signs of an internet hoax since no one is claiming (with a first and last name) to have taken the photo. I found someone on BirdForum with a "raptor" username, but no photograper saying, "Yes, that is me. My name is ...."

Also, the photos are said to come from a variety of places like a hunter in Montana, a hunter in Colorado, a photographer in Canada--again, no name. I'm also bothered by the lack of back story. Was this actually filmed on a deer carcass? Was this staged with a falconry bird on a game farm? What is the story?

Well, now there is a series of photos on and it's said that the photos were taken in Finland by Pekka Komi. Still no back story but at least we have a name to go along with the photos.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled "Pekka Komi" and came up with a few pages of different references. There are five pages of references at the site you listed, including pictures from Spain and Oman (Jordan?). He (?) seems to be an active, travelling birder and bird photographer, with pictures published in the Finish birding magazine.

12/27/2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger Christine Walker said...

I apologize. I was so wrong and there by criticized a fine photographer who didn't deserve it.

12/27/2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger birdchick said...


Your apology is admirable and I'm sure the photographer appreciates it.

Don't beat yourself up too much. There were a lot of questions surrounding the photo and in this day and age it's generally best to be skeptical when it comes to things that pop up from the Internet.

This does make me wonder: when someone finally gets a photo of an ivory-billed woodpecker--will it be believed at all?

12/27/2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger andy said...

Christine, no need to apologize. I don't think you made any criticisms that weren't outside the bounds to typical skepticism.

And I suppose you could still make the argument that all the photos could be doctored, but I guess I'd wonder what the point would be. Maybe people have that kind of spare time.

Sharon's comment is a little scary too, considering the technology available these days. It would be a shame to have a IBWO photographed and then have the image be doubted. The Luneau video is open to interpretation because it just isn't crystal clear, but to its basic validity (I don't think anyone seriously believes he doctored the video to add the woodpecker in!).

Happy New Year everyone!

- Andy, Newark, CA

12/27/2006 4:57 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Snopes is usually pretty reliable, so here you go:

12/28/2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger birdchick said...

The Snopes entry is new. I searched Snopes when I was first sent the photo and origionally blogged about it earlier in December. All I could find was a discussion on the Snopes Boards. Glad to know they got something up and that there is an actual photographer and back story to finally go along with this.

Thanks for the update, Kelly!

12/28/2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger Darren Naish said...

It's old hat now, but for some sort of related discussion of the relevant image and other issues regarding impressive feats of predation in eagles, do visit Steve Bodio's post 'Blogs, Eagles, Synchronicity' and my post 'When eagles go bad'.

Best wishes!

12/28/2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

I love the "experts" who claim a photo to be doctored then get owned when it turns out to be real.

I think a good majority of people couldn't tell if a photo is real or not when done professionally. Those of us who do photo manipulation for advertising or media get paid well for the many many hours it would take to fake a shot and make it look *that* good.

The real question to ask yourself isn't if the photo is real or not, but why would someone spend what could amount to several working days of time to create something to email around? Not all photos in mass emailings are faked, many are legit photos but with a fake story.

1/04/2007 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photo was taken in South-Western Finland at Eagle carcass. Apparently someone had published the photo in YouTube (downloaded from a Finnish nature image bank) without a permission from Pekka Komi. This is what was told in a national Finnish newspaper today.

1/25/2007 3:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Finnish newspaper had a typo in their story. They're also talking about the fox eating a pig carcass.

The photo was taken 22 Feb 2006.

1/25/2007 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a couple of more pictures from that same situation:

There is also photographers' contact information if someone is interested about publishing that photo.

1/25/2007 9:06 AM  
Blogger Johan said...

Just a quick reply, the author is Finnish male taxi driver and birdwatcher/ornithologist Pekka Komi of Helsinki, Finland. He was interviewed in a Finnish tabloid, saying that he was annoyed that the images were leaked to the net without proper attribution (and that they were allegedly taken by "a hunter in Montana" etc.).

1/26/2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger Matti said...

Hi ,regarding the story this really happened in Finland and photo was taken by Taxi Driver I was reading the story one of Finnish daily newspaper .Some one stole the picture and posted to Internet this is why there is no Photographers name .

1/26/2007 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't know about the authenticity of this photo, but I've seen several examples of this sort of tableau and sequential photos staged using taxidermy and photography. The bird and fox were mounted in similar poses and then photographed. I saw them in Aspen in the 1980s- 1990s. I don't know the artist's name, but he lived and worked in the area. His portfolio included many images of this type-- eagles battling foxes; eagles lifting huge fish larger than themselves out of rivers and the like. The taxidermy was the critical element in creating the realism of the work.

2/01/2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This photo has been published in the Bugle magazine of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with full credit to Pekka Komi.

Elk Mike

2/14/2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You name it: wolf, fox, sheep...

9/13/2007 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that this picture was taken "in Finland", not Montana as claimed. I'd have to question that statement, as I do not think Golden Eagles, nor Black Billed Magpies to be indigenous to that part of the world. Magpies are well known scavengers in the North American West.

7/11/2008 5:59 PM  
Blogger Corax said...

Anonymous said: "I do not think Golden Eagles, nor Black Billed Magpies to be indigenous to that part of the world. Magpies are well known scavengers in the North American West."

Anonymous, you should do a little research before commenting. Just because a certain bird is found in North America does not mean it can't be found elsewhere, and both the golden eagle and black-billed magpie are indigenous to Finland as well, though the Eurasian magpie is considered to be a separate species from the North American magpie (and there's some disagreement on that too). Also if you did your research you would find that the picture is real, and so is the story. There's a reason why eagles are so revered throughout history, and this is just one example!

8/27/2008 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Roberta said...

Obviously the skeptics are not from Montana. Well, I live in a remote area in Northwest Montana, and, believe me, the Goldens here are massive.
When I first saw the photo, it was posted at the local hunting/fishing store, and the owner told me it was his nephew who had taken the picture while hunting one day. I don't question the size of this bird, or that the event actually took place, it's the fact that some one was there to witness it, and get a great picture of it that I not sure of.
I'm going to grill the locals until I find the truth.

11/01/2008 5:30 AM  

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