16 OCTOBER 1953, Page 6

Stooping to Carrion

On about the last day of the stalking season one of my brothers shot a stag which dropped dead and rolled twenty yards downhill. As it came to rest a golden eagle swooped down out of nowhere, alighted on the carcass and began pecking at it rather ineffectively. (It was a young bird) He watched this unusual sight for some time, but as the hour was late and he had a long drag he eventually had to move, which of course scared the eagle away. Earlier in the season another rifle on the same beat had found a " piner " (a stag that was sick and wasting away) dead- at the foot of a cliff, with the eagle sitting on a rock beside it. My brother thinks that the eagle may have driven the sick stag over the cliff, or perhaps merely happened to see it fall over, and had stooped on his stag because the sight of a carcass rolling downhill was associated in its rather inexperienced mind with a square meal. I don't suppose the incident is unprecedented, but I thought it singular enough to be worth recording.