An Injured Long-tailed Weasel and a Snowy Egret Entangled in Rope

A Long-tailed Weasel at a burrowA Long-tailed Weasel at a burrow – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Life is hard for birds and animals around the globe and in my small patch of the planet too. Three days ago while photographing at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge I came across a Long-tailed Weasel and had hope to get some high quality images of it but it stayed on the road for the most part which didn’t give me nice, natural backgrounds. I liked this image of the weasel at a burrow in the gravel road though.

Portrait of the injured Long-tailed WeaselPortrait of the injured Long-tailed Weasel – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And this one of the Long-tailed Weasel at the side of the road that shows its face, dark eyes and cute rounded ears but it also shows that the weasel appears to be injured on the left of its nose. The fleshy part of the nose just does not look right.

Close up of the Long-tailed Weasel's facial injuryClose up of the Long-tailed Weasel’s facial injury – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I only had a few long-distance, poor quality images of the weasel where I could crop in 100% to show the injury and in this close up I can see a healed gash to the left of the weasel’s nose along with being able to see some of its teeth. Long-tailed Weasels are extremely aggressive even with their own kind and it is likely that this weasel got into a fight with another weasel and lived to walk away. I have photographed a weasel carrying another dead weasel and I suspect the one killed the other.

Life is hard even if you are a weasel but I suspect that even with this injury the weasel will do just fine.

A Snowy Egret with rope around its legA Snowy Egret with rope around its leg – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

While I was heading east on the south side of the auto tour loop I also photographed a Snowy Egret with rope entangled around its left leg. Fortunately the rope hasn’t yet constricted the leg and caused it to swell below the rope and the egret can fly which would make it very difficult to capture it and remove the rope at this point and the egret looks healthy. My concern at this point is if the rope gets entangled on vegetation, a stump or other object that the egret could possibly starve to death.

For me one of these images is harder to view than the others because in the first three the injury is naturally caused but the image of the Snowy Egret makes me cringe because its problem is purely man made.



  1. Utahbooklover August 26, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Life is tough, especially since man arrived on the scene. Appreciate these images Mia.

  2. Elephant's Child August 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I am tired of just how often I am ashamed of our species. And hope that egret can free itself. Quickly.

  3. Patty Chadwick August 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Mankind strikes again! I share your concerns for that Snowy…the rope is too much like jesses not to worry about the bird. Rope, six pack plastic, balloons, plastic bags, discarded fishing line, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on and on….and the results are so often tragic.

  4. Cindy August 26, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Mia, you bring to attention, once again, the impact mankind has on all of nature. I do hope that in time, the rope will disentangle itself from the egret. Beautiful images, as always. Thank you for sharing with the world.

  5. Bob Mcpherson August 26, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Wonderful images, Mia. Life can be difficult for the animals, but they usually adapt pretty well. Your concern for them is
    totally commendable.

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