If you’ve ever wondered who would come out on top in a bird battle between a great blue heron and a red-tailed hawk (honestly, who hasn’t?), this short clip should put any doubts to rest.

Mike Benard, an associate professor studying ecology & herpetology at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University, shared a video last month of a great blue heron losing its gopher meal to a thieving red-tailed hawk.

Filmed in Santa Cruz County, California, the clip begins with a shot of a great blue heron doing what herons do best: skewering unsuspecting prey on their dagger-like beaks. Though we tend to think of great blue herons (Ardea herodias) as fishing specialists, the birds will gladly impale any available prey with those sizeable stabbers. This one locked in on a gopher, and the rodent barely stood a chance. After snatching its quarry, the heron got to work subduing the flailing prey.

Standing at over a metre (more than three feet), great blue herons are the largest herons in North America and have an exceptionally wide range, stretching throughout Mexico, the United States and large portions of Canada. Their expansive territory has helped them to develop a knack for catching just about any prey they can cram down their throats.

This predator, however, was not expecting a rival hunter. Red-tailed hawks are renowned survivalists and famously unfussy eaters. A freshly speared gopher is an easy meal too tempting to pass up. After announcing its presence with a shrill shriek, the hawk swooped in to claim the meal. Despite its size advantage, the heron chose to flee, leaving a spray of guano as it fluttered away. The hawk quickly flew off with a fresh meal clutched in its talons.

Spare a thought for the gopher who was having a particularly tough day.