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The Cost Of Doing Business
📸 by @highlinelakestatepark

This morning Park Rangers received numerous reports of a dead owl on the Highline Lake Trail near Blind #2. Reporting parties believed the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) had been shot by a waterfowl hunter and left behind.

Rangers quickly located the dead owl and also found a dead Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) lying underneath. Even more peculiar was the lack of gunshot wounds, as Rangers later found that neither bird had been shot; they had died as a battle of predator versus prey.

Based on the injuries of each bird, the Great Horned Owl grabbed the Western Grebe with its strong talons. The grebe fought back, puncturing the owl with its sharp, fish-catching beak. Both birds perished in the struggle.

As odd as this may seem, owls are known to prey on small- and medium-sized ducks. He probably didn’t expect the fight of the grebe. Rangers investigated and determined this oddity was completely natural and was not a result of hunters or human interaction. It highlights the harsh reality of Mother Nature and the predator-prey relationship.

Both birds will be preserved as mounts in our Visitor Center, living on as educational displays for future generations. The Park Rangers would like to thank the concerned visitors who brought it to our attention.



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