The internet is complete thanks to this incredible slow motion footage of a goshawk attacking a water balloon

by Felix Esser

posted Friday, March 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM EST

We've seen high-speed photography and slow-motion video footage of birds in flight. We've seen high-speed photography and slow-motion video footage of water balloons popping. What we haven't seen so far is a bird of prey eviscerating a water balloon with its claws mid-flight in slow-motion. Until now.

Thanks to the brilliant folks over at Earth Unplugged, a YouTube channel maintained by BBC Worldwide, we can now gaze in awe at the first high-definition slow-motion footage of a goshawk ripping apart a yellow water balloon in flight.

During the six-minute video, we get to see the bird of prey from various angles in various takes, revealing not only the beauty and grace of the goshawk's movements, but also the deadly precision with which it attacks its prey. In those shots where the bird is approaching the camera, it becomes evident that up until the last moment, its eyes stay fixated on its prey – in this case a piece of meat attached to the water balloon in order to attract the bird. Only in the final fractions of a second, the bird moves its feet forward, and as soon as they hit the ballon, it drives its talons into the balloon's yellow skin.

What then happens has been filmed and photographed multiple times before, but seeing it happen as the result of an attack by a bird of prey takes it to a whole new dimension. First, we see ripples forming on the balloon, until the incision caused by the goshawk's talons causes the balloon to rip apart, revealing a ball of water that then slowly disintegrates into thousands of individual drops. All this was recorded with a high-speed camera at 4000-5000 frames per second, revealing details that the human eye wouldn't be able to perceive under normal circumstances.

In addition to the slow-motion awesomeness, we also get to see some behind-the-scenes coverage of how the footage was achieved, showing how goshawk, bird handler, equipment and people behind the camera all work together to make these incredible images possible. Thank you, Earth Unplugged. The internet is now, finally, complete.

(via PetaPixel)