A Northern Goshawk Flies Off with a Eurasian Coot - Observation of the Week, 8/17/21

iNat user @clara_g documented a Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis, Habicht in German) making off with a Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra, Bläßhuhn in German) in Germany and it's our Observation of the Week! 

Clara Guckenbiehl tells me that a “great biology teacher” in high school, as well as apprenticeship at a zoo keeper at a wildlife rehabilitation center, were key factors leading to her studying biology in college. “Especially during the master's program,” she says, 

I discovered field ornithology as a great hobby that makes me forget everything else, where I don't mind getting up early, walking for hours or standing in the pouring rain just to find out what I can observe that day, to see that one resting migratory bird or to hear that one owl calling. Having found friends sharing this fascination as well as upgrading my camera equipment definitely helped me to improve my skills and fueled my passion.

And it was on an outing with friends, while wielding her trusty camera, that Clara captured the predation event you see above.

I saw the goshawk preying on the coot while at a lake with my husband Tobi and my friend and fellow student Alex. Not much had happened so far when suddenly Alex said that “something large” just went down into the reeds. So I got my camera ready while the Egyptian geese were clamoring and ranting. And then the goshawk flew up with his prey, directly towards and over us, being followed by several attacking crows and the cackling of all waterfowl. I was absolutely stunned when I realized what we had just witnessed! And I'm really glad I got the photos at all because my old camera I brought that day doesn't really shoot fast and focuses quite slowly.

We were in a small wooden hut, so unfortunately I couldn't see what exactly did happen after the goshawk flew by. It seemed to be heading for a group of trees behind us - and I hope it could enjoy its meal there without being disturbed by the crows again!

Since the spring, Clara (above, looking for yellow-bellied toads), has been studying stress in forest birds for her master’s thesis, as well as doing some bird banding. But she’s definitely into other taxa as well.

At the moment, I’m specifically interested in dragonflies but I also try to record everything else that comes across my way. iNaturalist really helps me with that - on the one hand, it boosts my motivation to contribute to a large data set instead of having the photos gather digital dust somewhere on my computer. On the other hand, iNat's artificial intelligence and the “swarm intelligence” of the whole community regularly allow me to identify taxa I'm not familiar with. iNaturalist also serves as some kind of personal observation diary for me and allows me to get an idea of what to expect when visiting new areas.

(Photo of Clara by Tobias Geitz - @tobias_g)

- Eurasian Coot chicks have brightly colored heads and necks, here’s some nice footage of them hanging out with an adult.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, August 18, 2021 00:38


Unique. Congratulations for the observation.

Posted by nelson_wisnik 5 months ago (Flag)

This is a great example of what it is to have the privilege of being at the right place with the right equipment. Blessing from the Nature. Congratulations!

Posted by paularomano 5 months ago (Flag)

Wow, pretty amazing! Thanks!

Posted by susanhewitt 5 months ago (Flag)

Stunning record and photo!

Posted by siyul 5 months ago (Flag)


Posted by radrat 5 months ago (Flag)

Amazing sight, a great photo of it!

Posted by sedgequeen 5 months ago (Flag)


Posted by lisa_bennett 5 months ago (Flag)

Just a spectacular photo (and series!), Clara! Thanks so much for sharing this with us all. I've had several conversations lately just about this photo. Well done!

Posted by sambiology 5 months ago (Flag)


Posted by mydadguyfieri 5 months ago (Flag)

Inspirational - photo and story! thank you for sharing

Posted by chamelea 5 months ago (Flag)

What an exhilarating moment!

Posted by weecorbie 5 months ago (Flag)

It's really fantastic and I enjoyed it.

Posted by shahrzadasa 5 months ago (Flag)

Great photo!

Posted by genghisattenborough 5 months ago (Flag)

That's really cool!!!!!!

Posted by echo828437 5 months ago (Flag)

It looks like the coot still has something in its mouth as well. A whole food chain!

Posted by iorek 5 months ago (Flag)

Unglaublich! Tolles Photo! Yes, it looks like the coot still holds food in its beak.

Posted by michaela 5 months ago (Flag)

Amazing shot and experience, Ive never seen anything like that, congratulations!

Posted by lioneska 5 months ago (Flag)

Wow, great shot!!

Posted by educarrero 5 months ago (Flag)

Amazing! Wow, what power and determination the goshawk shows.

Posted by maryah 5 months ago (Flag)

Awesome shot and story to go with it! Congratulations!

Posted by garonson 5 months ago (Flag)

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