Remains of raptor feeding
Victims of attacks by birds of prey can sometimes betray what species attacked and killed them. For instance, a bird killed by a Sparrowhawk is often eaten at the site of the kill. The hawk will pluck the bird, scattering the feathers and then generally eat the breast first (where most of the ‘meat’ is). So you may find a scattering of feathers with perhaps some wing remains and a ‘hollow’ body. Peregrines and Merlins also kill before dismembering them. In general, Peregrines will eat larger birds (pigeons upwards), but often carry the victims to a higher perch before eating them. Buzzards generally eat mammals rather than birds, and often skin the (eg Rabbit) prey or turn them ‘inside out’. Bird kills can usually be distinguished from animals killed by Foxes or other carnivores by the absence of crushed bones, and strong smells, which are frequently left by scentmarking mammals.