Did the Kestrel kill this Black­bird?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

Q While tak­ing my usual morn­ing walk I came across this Kestrel de­vour­ing it’s prey. At first I thought it was a small mam­mal, but as I went closer I found it to be a Black­bird. I thought this quite un­usual and ques­tioned had the Kestrel caught it or had it found it al­ready dead? Ann Quayle, Cum­bria

A Ei­ther is pos­si­ble, as al­though Kestrels typ­i­cally hunt small mam­mals, plus am­phib­ians and large in­sects, they will take other birds on oc­ca­sion. Usu­ally these are smaller or young birds, caught on the ground, and some ur­ban Kestrels in par­tic­u­lar have been shown to take rel­a­tively large amounts of such prey – to kill a Black­bird you’d imag­ine a Kestrel would have to take it com­pletely un­awares. But Kestrels are also, like most rap­tors, op­por­tunists, and would prob­a­bly take a Black­bird that has been killed by a car or cat.

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