Decapitated bird ...

To: Canberrabirds <>
Subject: Decapitated bird ...
From: "David McDonald (personal)" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2019 07:23:54 +0000

Thank you Philip.

Following consultation with my legal team, and the Chief Forensic Pathologist, this afternoon I visited the scene of the alleged crime. I took with me, as part of my evidence kit, a 300 mm metal ruler.

At the location provided by my informant (Witness L), I found the deceased.

Based on expert evidence provided by Witness P, and my own observations, I suggest that the identity of the deceased is, indeed, a Tawny Frogmouth.

To build the evidence base to assist the Coroner, I photographed the deceased. Two high-resolution images of each of its back and its front were obtained. If you don't mind somewhat grizzly images, you may care to view them at!Albs1pYgRNe9tWK4Qhfd8a6lMHRM

It is my submission that the deceased has no head, a condition sometimes referred to as 'being decapitated'.

I suggest that this was likely to have been the cause of death, based on the fact that no other feathers appeared to have been ruffled.

No evidence as to the identity of the perpetrator of the crime was obtained from the crime scene. Witness L, however, advised that, last night after dark when she took her dog for a walk along Ryans Road (the crime scene), withing 100 metres or so of where she found the deceased today, she heard in the sky above her a 'whishing' sound. She suggests that it may have been the sound of the wings/feathers of a large, night-active bird.

The matter is now in the hands of the Coroner.

Best wishes - David

On 2019-02-17 17:49, Philip Veerman wrote:

Or indeed I could also ask, did the person turn it over to see if it actually is decapitated? It doesn’t look like it to me. It looks to me like the head is still where it should be and the beak is pointing down underneath.




From: David McDonald (personal) [
Sent: Sunday, 17 February, 2019 2:12 PM
To: Canberrabirds
Subject: [canberrabirds] Decapitated bird ...


Greetings. A neighbour sent me this photo, writing 'Hi David, found this decapitated bird this am halfway along Ryan’s, what do you think it is and who killed it, an owl?' ('Ryan's' is Ryans Road, Wamboin.)

I suggest that is a Pallid Cuckoo despatched by a Powerful Owl, or perhaps by a Collared Sparrowhawk.

Your suggestions, please - David


David McDonald
1004 Norton Road
Wamboin NSW 2620
M: 0416 231 890 (national)
M: +61 416 231 890 (international)

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