A bateleur eagle finds a rather strange object when hunting and decides to have a little fun with it.
41-year-old lodge manager and photographic guide Rihann Van Wyk from Mvuradona Safari Lodge was out on a game drive in the Kruger National Park when he came across this playful scene. He shared the sighting with LatestSightings.com
“While on a game drive in the Kruger National Park, I was driving along the S108 dirt road, searching for the resident leopards that call this part of the park home. Often, when you are searching for something, you will never find it. As I thought that to myself, a large raptor about to land caught my eye.”
“This section was mainly grassland with some apple leaf trees and some shrubs. As soon as the raptor landed, I saw it was a bateleur eagle. I stopped the vehicle some distance away and waited to see what was going to happen, as I knew there must be something that got its attention. The next moment it picked up an “egg” and tried to swallow it.”
Bateleur eagles have diets that consist of a large variety of different items. They will consume rodents, small reptiles, small antelope, and carrion. Bateleur eagles will consume eggs on very rare occasions.
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“This egg was too big to fit down its throat, and I thought it was strange that the egg did not break. The Bateleur picked it up and dropped it time and time again. The continuous attempts were tiresome and somewhat frustrating for the bird. Only then did I notice the poor bateleur was trying to swallow a golf ball.”
Sightings and incidents like these are testaments to the negative effect humans have on the environment. Littering is extremely harmful to our environment in general. Even more so are the ill effects of litter seen in our national parks. The worst-case scenario would have been that if the eagle had swallowed the golf ball, it would not have survived.
“Once I noticed that it was a golf ball. I wanted to get a bit closer, but the bateleur flew away. This was definitely a first for me. Hopefully, I never get to witness a sighting like that again.”
Always remember to never dispose of your litter anywhere other than designated refuse areas. The golf ball that was found on the S108 will remain a mystery, as there is no possibility it came from the Skukuza golf course, which is a good distance from the S108.