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the verge of consumption... nestled in the seaside bluffs of Half Moon Bay, CA.

I almost fell off my chair when I saw the simultaneous expression of predator and prey....
(best viewed large)

The FlickrBlog wrote, with a bit of alarmism:
“Flickr user jurvetson has captured an amazing fraction of a second in the interaction between prey and bird of prey. Warning: this photo is NOT for viewers who would be disturbed by images of small cute things meeting their end - it is really quite gruesome. If that sounds like you, don't click."

(repost after accidental deletion... 148 wonderful comments and 308 faves are lost... sorry)

aschmitt, The Rocketeer, and 186 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Raffy Carvalheira 73 months ago | reply

    Oh wow!

    Awesome shot! One of the best i ever seen!

    poor rodent tho!

  2. jurvetson 73 months ago | reply

    Raffy - Thanks!

  3. oldcola_ 70 months ago | reply

    I can't help it, I keep wondering how the hawk taste.

    Great shot.

  4. dbootsthediva 69 months ago | reply

    This is a excellent photo. Seems like I am actually standing there and seeing it with my own eyes.
    May I ask a question. Why does the weed behind the bird compress into almost specific geometrical shapes? I have been noticing this specific about plants, trees,leaves,etc. in photos and recordings.

  5. Alan Eriksson 69 months ago | reply

    Realy great shot,
    Amazing moment

  6. Joe Leavitt 65 months ago | reply

    Great job. You were definitely prepared at the right time!

  7. philspics 64 months ago | reply

    Seen in wikipedia.. Superb shot..

  8. Dr DAD (Daniel A D'Auria MD) 59 months ago | reply

    NOW I know what happened to my pet vole! Sorry, couldn't help myself. This is a once in a lifetime photo! Well, yes....for the vole too, but you know what I mean! This photo will likely be around long after we are all gone and forgotten. Right place at the right time!

  9. talonväki 58 months ago | reply

    This is amazing! I actually found this photo while Googling for photos to confirm that a hawk I photographed was a juvenile red-tail...your bird looks just like mine, and they're from the same general thank you for helping me with that!

    I cannot believe how incredible this photo is...the look on the vole's face!

  10. Gemma Malenoir 57 months ago | reply

    This is one of the most amazing wildlife shots i have ever seen! Truly stunning!!! :)

  11. jurvetson 57 months ago | reply

    thanks. And for a first-time commenter here, it means a lot to me

  12. Gemma Malenoir 57 months ago | reply

    You're welcome :)
    Yea i've also read about what happened, and i'm so sorry for that, but don't worry i'm sure that you'll get a lot more future comments on this! It's brilliant!

  13. Alan Whyte 47 months ago | reply

    Stunning image Steve, what lens did you use to get this as the detail is superb and did you do any post processing to sharpen the image at all.

  14. jurvetson 47 months ago | reply

    Canon 100-400mm at 400mm and no post processing at all. Just a crop.

    flickr lost the metadata somehow when they lost the photo and reposted (this image also does not show up in tag or keyword search.... it is in flickr limbo).

    Canon 5D, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, ISO 640, no flash, standard settings

  15. Alan Whyte 47 months ago | reply

    Same lens as I am using most of the time. Nice to see thats its capable of producing this quality under the right lighting conditions, shame the light is not as good as this in Britain.

  16. jurvetson 20 months ago | reply

    Check out this sequence of a Great Grey Owl in Minnesota:




    And the current New Scientist sheds light on their senses. In this case, the owl has ears offset asymmetrically on the skull at 2 and 7 o’clock and the differential timing and volume allows it to pinpoint prey, even when the rodent is scurrying in tunnels under snow.

    “Intriguingly, the hearing ability of birds living in temperate climes fluctuates through the year. The auditory regions of their brains grow during the breeding season, then shrink when song becomes less important. Understanding this process could provide clues to treating Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

    “Another important difference between bird and human hearing occurs in the inner ear, and especially in the cochlea – the structure containing the vibration-sensitive "hearing" hairs. It is snail-shaped in humans, hence its name, whereas in birds it is banana-shaped. In both, the hair cells detect changes in pressure and transform these into electrical signals, which are interpreted as sound in the brain. Crucially, we cannot replace damaged hair cells, making deafness a scourge in older people. Birds, have no such problem: they can grow new hair cells. If we can discover the genetic basis underpinning this difference, it could give us the potential to solve a common cause of age-related hearing loss.”

  17. kemolledog 12 months ago | reply

    Check out the Decorah Eagles Webcam to see the best live eagle webcam around; and the pair of eagles just hatched their latest family of three... .....

  18. Beachy 10 months ago | reply

    "There was something preying on Jerry's mind."

    50 more captions for this photo on

    Got more great photos for captioning? Add them to this group

  19. bob ingram... 6 months ago | reply

    Awesome photo...

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