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Weasel attacks woodpecker, gets taken for a ride

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We’ll have to file this photograph under “WHOA.”

This week, a spectacular and curious image of a green woodpecker flying to the air with a weasel perched on its back surfaced on the web.

Woodpecker weasel

At first glance, it looks like some kind of bird taxi service, but this isn’t the case. The photographer, an Englishman from Essex named Martin Le-May, clarified that it was actually evidence of a life-or-death struggle.

He was at Hornchurch Country Park when he heard “distressed squawking” and chose to investigate. The weasel was attempting to make a meal of the woodpecker, and the frantic bird took to the air in an attempt to shake off its predator.

Woodpecker weasel

The image has since gone viral on social media sites such as Twitter, and you will be happy to hear that the woodpecker escaped the battle to fly another day.

Woodpecker weasel

Thanks to Martin Le-May for these incredible photographs. Here is the full story in his own words:

My wife, Ann, and I had gone for a walk. I had hoped that she might see a green woodpecker as she has not really seen one before.

As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface. Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.

The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 metres away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.

The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.