Excellent response Phillip, exactly what I was thinking.
I can't imagine the impact that would be required on a bird in the
air, so with nothing to provide an opposing force, to dislodge the
Do they kill, like owls with rodenty things, by nipping the spinal
column? An intelligent bird like a pigeon would have very little
holding it's head on once the spinal column had been snipped. Maybe
the heads come off during this process?
What a fabulously ghoulish topic. Can we move onto regurgitating bones next?
On 6/12/08, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
> 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
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