AN EAGLE carrying a miniature video camera filmed the moment it was ambushed by a buzzard.
Stunning in-flight photographs show the raptor swooping on the trained eagle and attacking with its talons before flying off amid a shower of feathers.
Marra, a white-tailed sea eagle, managed to fight off the buzzard and escaped unharmed.
The remarkable footage was made possible by a £20,000 project run by Elite Falconry in Fife.
Barry Blyther and Roxanne Peggy have developed a tiny on-board filming device which allows high-definition footage to be captured as the eagles hunt, play and battle over a mile high in the air.
The project has been years in the making, and the pair hope to expand their expertise to the television and film industry.
To begin they take 3D prints of the five birds they use for the project, allowing them to create bespoke harnesses which are comfortable for the animals.
A camera is then attached to the harness, and can film for up to two hours in “cinema quality” definition.
The trained birds are sent out to hunt in the skies above Scotland, with the onboard camera constantly filming as they reach speeds exceeding 100mph.
Stunning images caught by the device include an eagle “selfie” as the bird looks over its shoulder.
Barry has described the pictures of the mid-air battle as photographs which were “never possible” before their project.
In-flight data is also gathered, which can produce a map showing where the bird has been, how high and fast it flew, how rapidly it climbs and stoops and even the angle at which the bird descends.
Barry describes the animals as “living drones”, and hopes that the footage captured can be translated into documentary work, TV adverts, film sequences and expanding their work globally.
He said: “The birds are filming in high definition with massive frame rates, which allow the video to be replayed in super-slow motion which means we can also grab these stunning images.
“We’ve just been putting the camera on and letting them fly about, and what we have got so far is amazing.
“We believe there may be only one other person in the world doing this to such a high quality, it’s something very new.
“I heard that the makers of The Hobbit wanted in-flight footage during their eagle scenes, but they couldn’t do it because the technology wasn’t available at the time.
“Now, however, we would be able to provide exactly that. We would love for anyone looking to do something similar to get in touch with us.
“The birds are like living drones – they can record imagery for castles, mountains and tourist attractions, without the disturbance of a loud machine.”