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Oh deer! Eagle kills deer in startling glimpse of alpha bird behavior.

A trip camera in Siberia caught images of a golden eagle attacking a deer. The images are surprising to scientists, but golden eagles in that part of the world are known to hunt larger prey.

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Courtesy Zoological Society of London and Wildlife Conservation Society

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Three trip-camera images of a Siberian golden eagle taking down a deer are an extremely rare glimpse not only into nature at its wildest, but also into little known raptor behavior in an area of the world where hunters use the massive birds to hunt and kill wolves.

The images were taken at camera trap station in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve in Russia's Primorsky Territory, and published by the Journal of Raptor Research.

They show the eagle landing on the deer’s haunch but don’t give any clues as to how the bird killed the deer. Researcher Linda Kerley of the Zoological Society of London discovered the deer carcass, which posed a mystery. For one, there were no predator tracks around the carcass, and it appeared as if the deer had been running “and then stopped and died,” Ms. Kerley told Fox News.

The mystery of the fallen deer was solved later in the day when Kerley clicked through the trip-camera pictures and found the three images, captured in a span of only two seconds. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she said.

Such attacks are believed to be exceedingly rare, but they are far from unprecedented. Mongolian and Kazhak falconers, for example, have exploited the eagle’s size in order to use it to hunt and kill wolves, says Mark Fuller, director of the Raptor Research Center at Boise State University.

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