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Here’s a picture of a coyote and bald eagle apparently fighting over a deer carcass on a Maine lake

Richard Gurney's trail camera caught a bald eagle swooping down toward a coyote on Brassua Lake as the animal tried to feast on a deer carcass.
Richard Gurney's trail camera caught a bald eagle swooping down toward a coyote on Brassua Lake as the animal tried to feast on a deer carcass.(Richard Gurney)

File this one under “Only in Maine.”

Rockwood, Maine, resident Richard Gurney’s trail camera captured a unique photograph that appears to show a bald eagle descending on a coyote as the four-legged animal tries to defend — or eat — its meal, a discarded deer carcass that was placed as bait on a frozen lake.

Gurney, 54, said he has an “ice shack” on Brassua Lake, in the northern part of the state, that he and his friends often use when hunting or taking photos.

Gurney also set up a trail camera at the site, he said, which automatically takes pictures when it’s triggered by motion from nearby wildlife.

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“I usually just get pictures of lynx, and coyotes, and fisher or whatever,” Gurney said.

But earlier this month, after Gurney placed donated roadkill on the icy and snowy lake, in direct view of the camera — something he often does so that he can later check the footage and see what types of animals came by — he was thrilled by what he found on the device.

One of the stills captured the moment when a coyote seemed to lunge into the air at a bald eagle, its majestic wings spread wide, as the deer carcass lays at the coyote’s feet.

“I thought, ‘Holy moly. Oh my goodness, this is quite a picture,’ ” said Gurney in a telephone interview. “I checked the film and I happened to scroll through to that picture and didn’t know what I was quite looking at until I blew it up on my computer.”

Gurney’s wife, Heidi, urged him to put the picture on Facebook to share with friends and family. Soon after, it garnered significant interest online from others, who were equally impressed by how the animals were interacting with one another in the wild.

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One person wrote on Facebook that it was the “best game cam pic ive ever seen.”

Another said the moment between the eagle and coyote was probably a “once in a lifetime” shot.

The image was picked up by Bangor Daily News and several television stations in Maine this week. Wilderness groups on Facebook also shared it with their respective followers.

“Everyone is liking the photo,” said Gurney, a bartender and Maine guide in the Rockwood area. “It’s pretty cool.”

Gurney told the Globe that one of the last photographs in the series taken by the trail camera told the story of which animal came out victorious.

“It was just the coyote by itself with the carcass,” he said, “and the bird was flying away.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.