A new eagle cam is making the rounds online, but this time it’s a bird behind the camera. The footage above (reminiscent of a film by a cheeky octopus) was captured by a thieving sea eagle, who pilfered a video camera and carried it some 70 miles in his talons.
According to the AP and The West Australian, wildlife rangers had set up their camera in May to record fresh-water crocodiles in the Margaret River in western Australia. When the cam disappeared, they assumed it had fallen into the water, but recently they rediscovered it—along with some unusual video clips stored in its memory.
The camera-crook [who makes a nice cameo around 00:37] is likely a white-bellied sea eagle, says Kenn Kaufman, creator of the Kaufman Field Guide series and an Audubon field editor. This large raptor is a territorial and opportunistic predator. When not embarking on accidental film projects, these eagles typically use their talons to capture fish, ducks, rabbits, carrion, and reptiles like the Australian water dragon.
Now this eagle auteur can join the ranks of other feathered felons, such as Sam, a gull who shoplifts Doritos, a starling who steals change at a carwash, and an Argentine caracara suspected of abetting in the theft of a basketball player’s contract. Not to mention the myriad feathered suspects who snatch at all things shiny, from magpies and bluejays to emus. Move over cat burglars—bird bandits are on the loose.