It’s that age-old story: weasel meets bird, weasel falls in love with bird, weasel won’t let bird go – even when it flies off. This extraordinary picture taken by amateur wildlife photographer Martin Le-May has caused some chin-scratching among ornithologists everywhere. Is it possible for a woodpecker to carry a weasel on its back?
Can it be real? The amazing image of a woodpecker flying with weasel on its back taken by Martin Le-May.
The image of the wide-eyed bird and its stowaway was taken at Hornchurch country park in Essex, where Le-May was hoping to show his wife Ann a green woodpecker. After hearing “distressed squawking”, he spotted the bird with the small mammal on its back, and took a series of photographs as the startled pair flew past. When the bird landed near him, he believes the weasel became distracted and the woodpecker seized its opportunity, “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.”
And Mick Greenslade, a park ranger at Hornchurch country park, said he had no doubt the photograph was real. “I am just mind-blown by it. We always see weasels in the park while they are hunting, but for somebody to be able to get a photograph, it is just nature at its best. I have no reason to doubt it – he was just in the right place at the right time, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime photo.”
The internet was quick to spot the meme-potential of the photograph, and the hashtag #WeaselPecker was trending on Twitter for most of Tuesday afternoon.The best examples included Vladimir Putin, Buzz Lightyear and John Terry all apparently hitching a ride on the bird.