It’s no laughing matter when you find yourself in the clutches of one of nature’s wisest predators.
I see many guests out on safari and a lot of them dream about witnessing a kill. I was lucky enough to witness such an occasion.
Spending enough time out in the bush will trigger an appreciation for the smaller creatures and often overlooked sightings. The kill I refer to is not by one of the sought after big cats or canine species. What I witnessed was a kill from one of the nocturnal species operating opportunistically during the day.
I took a drive along a very scenic river line. As I cleared a thicket along the winding river bend, something struck my eye. Positioned in a large Jackalberry tree I saw an owl. A Verreaux’s Eagle Owl at that. This is South Africa’s largest owl species. Besides its grand stature, it is easily recognizable by its pink eyelids.
I not only saw one owl, but two. I marveled at the sighting before I saw what the one owl was up to. In its claws lay a lifeless Laughing Dove. It had fallen victim to this highly skillful hunter.
The magnificent owl proceeded to pluck the feathers from its soon to be meal. I had positioned myself a fair distance away as to not disturb the bird whilst feeding. I watched how it used its talons and beak with precision, dissecting its meal carefully and devouring the flesh.
Once the owl had its fair share of this little laughing dove it picked up the carcass and flew off deeper into the shaded tree. It presented its mate with a little gift.