raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine stategy

To: "Mike Carter" <>
Subject: raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine stategy
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 22:43:26 +1000
Hi Mike,

Sorry I really disagree. I recall reading years ago that this idea "It does 
this by bringing its clenched fists forward to strike the head" was a myth. Why 
wouldn't it be a myth? It has talons like sharp hooks, adapted for killing 
things, why would the bird use "clenched fists" and risk damaging its own feet 
on impact?  The idea seems to be no more logical than being derived from an 
analogy to people boxing but we don't have sharp talons and we are not aiming 
to slice and scratch. Surely the method used is to hit the prey with feet fully 
open, thus exposing the sharp bits. Various photos show this. If the feet are 
closed ("clenched fists"), how would it grab the prey (an alternative to the 
simple hit) and how would the existence of cuts be explained. Also I believe 
that "the Peregrine makes the kill by knocking their heads off at the point of 
impact" is also a myth. I have never heard of anyone observing a Peregrine 
stoop at prey being marked by seeing the loose head falling down somewhere 
behind the scene. If this was a regular thing, falconry text would describe it. 
I have seen a few Peregrine kills (not a lot) and seen photos etc that show the 
head still on the prey. I have also seen some missing the head. Much more 
likely that the head is bitten off and maybe eaten first, they do bite the neck 
as a killing method. I believe it is usually true that for large prey eaten on 
the ground the way in which it is laid out is fairly characteristic of a 
Peregrine Falcon meal. Not that prey remains from other predators would not 
sometimes look similar.

Philip Veerman
24 Castley Circuit
KAMBAH   ACT  2902

Phone. 02 - 62314041
(M) 0411 716177

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