Author Topic: On things killing other things  (Read 942 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
On things killing other things
« on: October 08, 2008, 11:46:36 pm »
Referring back to this post, I was wondering about the problems a sparrow hawk might have, carting off a collared dove. According to me bird book, a sparrow hawk can weigh up to 12 oz, a collared dove up to 5 oz. I would have thought this extra weight might present a problem.

I say this because during the very brief period between taking off with the dove in its talons and disappearing into a bush, I gained the impression that the dove was flapping its wings.

The question arises: is a sparrow hawk sufficiently skilled & clever to use its prey's wing power to help it get to a suitable place for slaughter and consumption? Macabre indeed!

I discussed this with my brother, a retired English Nature bod, and he told me of a sparrow hawk he saw once which had a swallow in its talons. The hawk then settled on a pond, spread its wings and drowned the swallow before making off with it.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

border-rider

Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 11:55:21 pm »
Our resident female sparrowhawk at the last house was BIG.  Biggest one I've seen, and she would regularly take woodpigeons.  She couldn't carry them off and had to butcher them in situ and take them off in 2 or 3 bits.

The one here (well, there cos I'm not at home) had a moorhen the other day.  That was spectacular.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 11:58:00 pm »
The question arises: is a sparrow hawk sufficiently skilled & clever to use its prey's wing power to help it get to a suitable place for slaughter and consumption? Macabre indeed!

Positively Pythonesque - is it an African or a European sparrowhawk?

I was once taking a bunch of foreign students sightseeing around London and in St James's Park we witnessed a pelican gulping down the last in a line of ducklings that were following their mother. That wasn't so bad in itself but the fact that you could see the consumed duckling writhing in the pelican's bill was quite disturbing.

It did get me to wondering how long it would take for the poor blighter to die and how long it would take for the pelican to break it down into small enough pieces for it to swallow, given that it wasn't exactly chewing its food.

Quote
I discussed this with my brother, a retired English Nature bod, and he told me of a sparrow hawk he saw once which had a swallow in its talons. The hawk then settled on a pond, spread its wings and drowned the swallow before making off with it.

African or European swallow? ;)

d.

Pete

Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 11:58:10 pm »
I don't know, but it was certainly an impressive sight once, to watch a weasel* neatly take out a young rabbit about three or four times its size, no problem!  Perhaps it's strength and technique that count for more than size.

*don't say it!  ;D  I know it was a weasel - small, and no black tip to tail...

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2008, 12:01:05 am »
African or European swallow? ;)

Don't be silly! A five-ounce bird can't carry a 1lb coconut!

African or European swallow? ;)

Err... I don't know that! ... Aaaaaargh!
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Pete

Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2008, 12:04:30 am »
Back to collared doves - never seen a sparrowhawk (or any raptor) take one, but I have seen a collared dove nearly kill another collared dove.  Presumably a dispute over territory, mating rights, food, or whatever.  The stronger bird had the weaker in a complete stranglehold, holding it down with its wings so that it couldn't breathe.  When I realised what was going on, I ran out into the garden and chased off the attacker, but the weaker bird was so badly hurt it couldn't fly away, just crawl into some bushes, and I found it dead on the lawn next day.  It looked like the finishing touch was from a cat.

Re: On things killing other things
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 08:41:39 pm »
I was once taking a bunch of foreign students sightseeing around London and in St James's Park we witnessed a pelican gulping down the last in a line of ducklings that were following their mother. ...

There was a news story about this sort of behaviour a couple of years back.

Luckily there are plenty of pigeons in London, so we can keep the pelicans well fed. :-\ ;D
Actually, it is rocket science.