Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Evidence of a Raptor Attack

I present the following as a case study in what you might encounter outside when walking around.  First, a very basic list of what I encountered:

Lots of feathers (namely banded black, grey and brown tail feathers)
Bird poop
Unidentifiable Feathers covered in poop
A Dense Cedar Stand

Take a look...

Using a Bird Feather ID book and the US Fish and Wildlife Services Feather Atlas (Link Here) I figured out that the tail feathers belonged to a Cooper's Hawk.  The Black and Grey Banding on the tail feathers identified the feather for me.  So now I am left with a few questions:

What could eat and dispose of a Cooper's Hawk (or like species)?
What enjoys dense stands of trees?
What has kinds of raptors have been seen at Hammonasset Beach State Park in the past few weeks?

I'll start with the easiest question to answer.  Here are a list of all the raptors reported on ebird for Hammo.
Bald Eagle
Red-Tailed Hawk
Red-Shouldered Hawk
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Great Horned Owl
Snowy Owl
Barred Owl
Northern Harrier
Peregrine Falcon

Given the fact that it was in a dense stand, Hawk or Owl seems more likely.  Merlins, Falcons and Eagles like more open or wet hunting spaces.  The Trees tell me that it is more likely a hawk or owl.  Given the fact also that the prey was itself a bird of prey, this means that tough bird is a work.

So this is a mystery that I cannot solve.  But I think that either a Great Horned or Barred Owl are work.  Both have been seen near the site of the feathers and the tree over the scene was a short but dense tree.  While, I can not be sure, finding the scene was a great insight into parts of the natural world.  I hope to find more mysteries and great questions about the natural world.  I hope you do too!

1 comment: