Forest Ravens again

Subject: Forest Ravens again
From: "P J FELL [DEEB]" <>
Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 08:54:06 +1000
Several years ago I published a short note in the Australian Bird 
Watcher about a pair of Forest Ravens I keep under observation while 
working as a Ranger at Wilson's Prom National Park.  My "home" during 
holiday periods was the staff hut at Sealer's Cove.  I regularly 
walked the beach of a late evening and early morning and would 
occassionally find dead penguins.  The presence of a pair of foxes at 
the Cove and their obvious feeding tracks suggested that more 
penguins were dying on the beach than were found.
 A colony of Fairy Penguins exists several kilometres off shore
on Rabbit Island and individual birds would come  ashore at Sealer's 
several times a week, well before it was dark.
It took, from memory, 2 seasons to find out that the penguins were 
being killed by the resident pair of Ravens.   The penguins  when 
they came ashore would usually sit several metres in from the shore.  
The Ravens, who constantly patrolled the beach would arrive, they 
would confidently walk up to the Penguin and one of them would very 
quickly remove the eyes of the Penguin.  Death appeared to be almost 
instant whether from the shock, or the intensity of the blows to the 
orbital socket. 
The plumage of the penguin appeared to be too dense to get in to the 
underlying flesh and the carcass was left for the foxes.  If they 
were lucky the foxes would open the carcass on the beach and leave 
the remains for the Ravens to pick off the next morning.


Peter Fell,  Senior Technical Officer
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3168, Australia
Voice: +61-3-9905 5646    FAX:+61-3-9905 5613

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