This wonderful streaming video features snowy owls, great gray owls and hawk owls hunting rodents in winter. This video is really interesting because it makes it easy for you to directly compare each species' different hunting styles. Cinematography by Andrew Manske. [1:59]
Source: The Northern Owls
I hate to say this, but those rats were most likely bait the photographer used to get his shots.
Wild rodents would NEVER be stuck out in the open during the day light like that and you can see the foot prints in the snow where the human walked when he put down the rodent.
I know when a Snowy Owl was down in Ohio several years ago, people bought mice from pet stores and set them out for the bird to eat.
Great video - I'm glad it did not show the owls eating the mice as then I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing it with my young nieces.
The slow motion was excellent at allowing us to see how the wings move.
Interesting... while you're doing vids, you might check out the birds tied for the category in Cute Overload's Best of 2007.
Were the rodents planted? My guess is a 99% absolutely! However, that does not change the flight properties of the owls shown. They did a great job of setting up the shot and helped out a couple of owls in the process. Looks like a Win/Win to me. Of course the mice don't have a say in the process but such is the nature of being the prey....
Um, yeah, the rats were bait. Otherwise we'd never have seen this footage, since as you point out the rats wouldn't be there.
Very nice videos, and the music makes it seem almost idyllic and tranquil, even though we are seeing acts of predation.
I can't help but think of what the rats would be saying if they could speak. "Oh my God what the Hell is that coming towards me oh holy crap oh fu-" *HURKH*