Eagle nabs video camera, captures Australia scenery, 'selfie'

A young sea eagle stole a wildlife camera in Western Australia seven months ago and flew it nearly 70 miles away, where rangers recently found the purloined video recorder with snippets of outback scenery and a "selfie" of the feathered delinquent.

The motion-sensor camera had been set up on the banks of the Margaret River in the Kimberley area in May, intended to record freshwater crocodiles lured to the lens by food left in the vicinity, the Australian Broadcasting Co. reported Monday.


When the camera went missing a few days later, rangers assumed it had fallen into the water, Gooniyandi ranger Roneil Skeen told the broadcaster.

A few weeks ago, Skeen's office of the Parks and Wildlife Service got a call from a fellow ranger who found the missing camera in the Mary River basin, nearly 70 miles from the crocodile stakeout.

"It was pretty amazing because it's one of the first camera traps to ever get picked up," Skeen said of the footage. A minute-long video clip posted on YouTube shows the camera being snatched from the riverside and the first few seconds of the bird's journey, to the sound and sight of his flapping wings.

Skeen told ABC the culprit was probably a young eagle just learning how to hunt and gather prey, as an adult eagle would have attempted to take its catch to a treetop nest, probably dropping it from a height that would have smashed it.

The final seconds of the video released Monday show the eagle pecking at the camera lens, leaving a "selfie." That, of course, is the Aussie word that has since gone global, earning the 2013 "word of the year" award bestowed by the Oxford English Dictionary.


Twitter: @cjwilliamslat