Tara’s latest video: bobcat catches wood duck hen

Tara Tanaka just sent this video filmed yesterday which is ineffably sad, showing a bobat making off with what appears to be a fully conscious wood duck hen. I know bobcats gotta eat, but a mallard hen? It struck to close to home, and made me tear up a little. As Tara said, it was the hardest thing she ever filmed.

Just after sunrise I was walking past the window and I saw all of the ducks flush from the dike. I stopped to see if I might be able to see what had scared them, when I saw a large animal climbing out of the water onto the dike. I squatted behind my camera, flipped it on, switched to video and pointed it toward the dike. My heart sank as I saw a large Bobcat emerge from between my blind and the Gheenoe with one of our beloved hen Wood Ducks in his jaws. I’ve watched these ducks lead their ducklings out of boxes, protecting and raising them, and this was the hardest thing I’ve ever videoed. That the duck looked fully conscious but frozen with fear made it a thousand times worse. I hope she wasn’t one of the ducks currently incubating eggs. I’ve slowed this down to 50% of original speed.

Tara’s wildlife pages are here:

Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/h2otara

Photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/focused-on-birds


  1. Ann German
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Why I don’t let my cats go outdoors. One could celebrate the bobcat’s good fortune, rather than mourn the duck’s hers. Nature.

  2. Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I understand your feelings for the duck, but personally, I feel for the cat. Vive la difference. Bobcats and their Lynx cousins are half-starved most of their lives and this catch looks like it’ll keep the cat alive and well awhile longer.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    In the animal world there is never a distinquishing between male and female in the hunt. Human hunting, which is not necessary, sometimes does require this identification prior to killing. Pheasant and deer come to mind but I do not know of any with ducks.

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Another one bites the duck.

    I’ll be gone all week.

    Glen Davidson

  5. darrelle
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. The behavior seems identical to our domestic cats. She knows exactly where Tara is and is keeping tabs on her the whole time.

    • Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      You’re right! I hadn’t noticed. Of course, if it was my cat sooner or later I’d get the duck’s head dropped at my feet with a look that can only be interpreted as; “I’m done with this. You can have the leftovers. You’re welcome”.

      • darrelle
        Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Duck head soup maybe? Or duck tongue? I remember an episode of Chopped that featured duck tongues as one of the ingredients. If I recall correctly even the judges were stumped regarding what to do with them or why anyone would eat them.

        • revelator60
          Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          “Duck chin” is an item I’ve encountered on some Chinese restaurant menus.

        • Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          Ewww. But fish head soup….nummy.

        • freiner
          Posted April 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Duck Soup. I love that movie.

  6. Posted April 20, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The cycle of life and its exuberance and beauty is also a cycle of death and pain.

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    That is beautiful imagery, and it gets very real at times.
    I am not sure, but the cat looks to be a young female, and perhaps inexperienced? I don’t know why she does not dispatch the duck to ensure it does not get away.

    • Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mark. Can you tell me why you think it’s a female? I’m wondering if she has kittens.

      • Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Maybe that is why she is carrying it whole instead of eating it.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted April 20, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Not with kittens, certainly. I was going with the proportion of the head to the body. Males have a larger head — or so I think.

      • glen1davidson
        Posted April 20, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Probably male, since you said it was large. Apparently male bobcats are significantly larger than females, with males around three feet long. Females can be as small as two feet. Judging by the duck, he does look like a large bobcat.

        Fine looking animal, in any case.

        Glen Davidson

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted April 20, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Meant to reply to you, but clicked on the wrong spot. The obvious way to tell is to get a look at the rear, but that is not presented here. Maybe it will come by again, and you will see the sex. Again, I could easily be wrong.

  8. ladyatheist
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I choose to think the bobcat has babies at home to feed.

  9. Posted April 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful video of two beautiful animals, and a nice Cricket Frog (Acris)chorus as background!

  10. W.Benson
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    My only and best experience with a bobcat happened when driving downhill around a sharp curve in the Blue Ridge of NC. A fawn bounded across the road in front of the car with a bobcat trailing it in mid-pounce. The cat caught and rolled with the fawn in the road, then with the car almost on him, he looked up and sprang away, letting the fawn escape.

  11. Posted April 20, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Incredible video. This may seem callous, but keeping that focus was masterful.

    • Igor
      Posted April 20, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing.

  12. Igor
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    People traumatized by this never been to LiveLeack.

    • W.Benson
      Posted April 21, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      LiveLeak can be an effective antidote for the sanitized news and pablum cable feeds Americans.

  13. John Black
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never understood why prey acts so differently when caught by a predator than by (say) a human.

    If a human grabbed that duck, it would be flapping its wings violently, probably trying to peck at the hands of the holder. But in the mouth of this bobcat, it lies still… awaiting its certain fate.

  14. Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it is biding its time and it will escape when the cat lays it down…

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