THE moment a captive golden eagle was knocked out of the skies after straying into the airspace of its wild cousins has been captured on film.
The 15-year-old trained raptor was hunting in the Grampian mountains with its owner when a local pair of golden eagles pounced.
The aerial battle started at 1,500ft and ended with the trained golden eagle crash-landing in the snow.
Owner Barry Blyther had to intervene to rescued his downed golden eagle from the talons and beaks of the wild pair.
The trained bird, a female weighing 4.5kgs and with a wingspan of 2.1m, escaped unhurt.
She managed to fend off an attack by the wild male golden eagle but was no match for the female of the pair.
Barry, who owns Elite Falconry in Cluny, Fife, said the experience was “terrifying”.
He said: “I’ve owned this bird from when she was just a chick and she’s been with us for 15 years. I have quite a connection with her and my heart was in my throat when I saw she was being attacked by a wild male.
“My heart about exploded when the wild female turned up. Females are much larger than the males and she was the one who eventually knocked my girl out the sky.
“Once she had crashed into the snow I ran over and managed to scare the wild birds off. Luckily, she seemed absolutely fine and after about 20 minutes she was up and hunting again.”
There are over 400 pairs of wild golden eagles in Scotland, and their territory can range in size from three to 100 aquare miles.
Adults will aggressively defend their territory and ward off any rival birds who come near.
The male will usually begin the attack, and if he is unsuccessful then the female will intervene.