Re­mains of rap­tor feed­ing

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

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.

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