Domaine Photographie

Un huart tueur en série / The Killer Loon

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Un huart tueur en série

En juillet, mon ami et moi sommes allé pagayer sur le lac Talbot au Parc national de Jasper. Après seulement quelques instants passés sur le lac nous avons repéré quelques huarts à collier (3 adultes et 2 jeunes) pas très loin de nous. Tout à coup, à notre grande surprise, deux des 5 huarts se mirent à se battre. Comme je ne me sépare jamais de ma caméra, j’ai donc pu documenter en images ce qui se passait.

Après s’être pourchassés, ils commencèrent à se frapper avec leurs ailes et à s’agripper par le cou. Il était clair qu’un des deux ne faisait pas le poids. Après une autre poursuite, les deux huarts disparurent sous l’eau de l’autre côté du lac et seulement un remonta à la surface. Nous ne pouvions croire ce que nous venions de voir.

À peine commencions nous à se remettre de nos émotions que nous aperçurent un peu plus loin ce même huart, secouant sa tête dans l’eau et agitant ses ailes vigoureusement. S’en approchant, nous avons réalisé que nous étions, encore une fois, les témoins d’un autre ”meurtre”. Cette fois, ce huart tenait dans son bec un jeune huart mort et ne cessait de lui caller la tête sous l’eau. Une fois qu’il en eut fini avec ce dernier, il s’attaqua à l’autre encore vivant.

Durant tout ce temps, la mère restait à proximité et ne réagissait pas. Une fois les deux jeunes huarts à collier morts, la femelle et le meurtrier s’éloignèrent ensemble sur le lac.

Ne pouvant nous résoudre à penser que ces morts pouvaient être injustifiées, nous nous sommes tournés vers un biologiste pour apprendre qu’il s’agissait de quelque chose de courant mais de rarement vue. Il était question d’une guerre de territoire. En se débarrassant de la compétition, le tueur s’assurait la dominance de ses gènes.

The Killer Loon

In July my friend and I went for a paddle on Talbot Lake in Jasper National Park. After only a few moments of being on the lake we spotted a few loons (3 adults and 2 young) not far from our canoe. All the sudden, to our surprise, two of them started to fight. Always carrying my camera with me, I started to take photos and videos of the encounter.

The loons seemed to raise up and slap one another with their wings, one loon was clearly more aggressive than the other and was grabbing the other one by the neck and trying to force it under water, the other just seemed to want to get away but the aggressor was relentless. A few times they both disappeared under the water soon they ended up in the reeds on the far shore with the dominate loon forcing the other under water then striking it with its beak, eventually the victim stopped fighting back and was apparently drowned and the killer headed back across the lake.

We lost sight of it for awhile but soon saw it with its head shaking in the water and the wings flapping vigorously  As we got close we realized he had a young dead loon in its beak, shaking it and submersing it over and over.

We started to paddle across the lake back to the car and noticed the aggressive loon had joined  mother loon and young loon and as we looked back they all dived under water but only one adult resurfaced. As we turn around, we could see that ” killer” had resurfaced directly in front of our canoe  with the young loon in its beak and he was again attacking violently, we watched helplessly as right before our eyes the Killer took yet another life.

Within one hour, Talbot lake lost 3 loons to a serial killer loon, Dexter the Loon.

The story can be found in The Jasper Local (Jasper’s newspaper)
Here is the explaination given by Jasper National Park biologist:

To humans, the scene plays out like an episode of Dexter, but in the wilderness, this is normal behavoir. Although it is hard for us to feel anything but horror toward the hostile display, the aggressive loon was simply ensuring his genes got passed along, according to Jasper National Park biologist Ward Hughson.

”This aggresor accomplished exactly what he wanted. And although it’s rarely seen, it’s not a rare event.”

Male loons, like male grizzly bears, will often kill competing birds to ensure their gene remains dominant. The battle that Domaine witnessed was the first step in that process, Hughson said.

“The pair will now likely develop a relationship and fly to the coast where they will spend the winter. Next summer they will be back at Talbot Lake.”

http://www.thejasperlocal.com/photo-galleries.html

 

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