Imagine you witnessing a small mammal riding a bird. Wouldn’t that be something of a fairytale? Well, believe it or not, that was the kind of thing a Londoner witnessed while taking a walk with his wife in a park in Essex, England. Though, extremely hard to believe and with its authenticity rightly questionable, these snaps of a baby weasel taking a ride on a woodpecker’s back is as real as breathing. However, the reason behind it is at least bizarre!
Weasels are some of the most common residents of the UK parks. They are also extremely skilled thieves, especially when it comes to rob woodpecker nests. So apparently, when this tiny weasel approached a nest, the woodpecker tried to protect it and so started a fight between them. Naturally, the mammal is much stronger than a woodpecker, so when the bird seen itself cornered, she just flew away, but somehow the weasel remained on the bird’s back. Not for long, though.
The incredible photos has been taken by the amateur photographer Martin Le-May in the Hornchurch Country Park, a few years ago. He said he initially spotted the two creatures arguing on the ground, but soon as the fight intensified, the bird flew, but not alone, though.
Since the photo’s veracity was questionable, it lead to an intense online debate. Yet, many experts agreed such moments are possible. Highly unusual, yet possible. Mick Greenslade, one of the Hornchurch park rangers told THE GUARDIAN: “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.”
Asked about how the incredible moment ended, Martin Le-May told ITV news: “The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”
Here’s Lucy Cooke’s (wildlife expert) explanation: