Q&A

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Our bird­ing ex­perts an­swer your bird-re­lated ques­tions – is yours among them?

QCan you give us a clue about the prey be­ing eaten here? We spot­ted the Pere­grine high on an elec­tric­ity py­lon at Old Moor RSPB and it flew off car­ry­ing what we thought was a small wader. It landed on the next py­lon and was soon busy pluck­ing. All the feath­ers be­ing dropped ap­peared white, but on closer views, the wing of the bird is en­tirely turquoise. One of the RSPB guys sug­gested it might be Shov­eler, but the photo sug­gests the un­der­wing is en­tirely turquoise, and any­way it doesn’t look big enough. We ended up think­ing it must have been an ex­otic es­capee. Alan Kydd

ALike you, we think this bird looks wrong for Shov­eler. It does in­deed look likely that this Pere­grine’s din­ner was some sort of ex­otic (es­caped) bird, pos­si­bly a small par­rot. How­ever, it is also pos­si­ble that the blue colour is not nat­u­ral. We have re­cently seen pho­to­graphs of gulls stained with dye or paint of a sim­i­lar hue. If the prey were, say, a stained pi­geon, it could make it more vul­ner­a­ble to pre­da­tion. As to the ex­act species of the vic­tim here, we’re open to sug­ges­tions from read­ers!

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