Raptors are generally considered solitary predators (Schoener 1969), but occasionally they interact socially (Brown and Amadon 1968). Certain raptor species (e.g., Swallow-tailed Kites [Elanoides forficatus] and Swainson's Hawks [Buteo swainsoni]) concentrate in aggregations in response to localized, abundant food sources (Ellis et al. 1993). Many raptor species engage in group hunting (Ellis et al. 1993), and social foraging is a routine strategy for some species (e.g., Harris's Hawks [Parabuteo unicinctus]; Bednarz 1988, Ellis et al. 1993]. Raptors generally engage in group hunting to pursue elusive or large prey (Ellis et al. 1993). Occasionally individuals of conspecific raptors engage in play as a group sometimes involving chases of prey species (Palmer 1988). In this letter, we report interactions between a large group of Golden Eagles and a herd of adult and juvenile Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) in late autumn.
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Interactions between a group of Golden Eagles and a herd of North American elk