raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine stategy

To: "Evan Beaver" <>
Subject: raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine stategy
From: "Douglas Carver" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2008 10:44:18 -0600
I did some reading on Peregrines some time ago -- I cannot find my notes,
but my recollection is that they strike their prey with such force (given
the high velocity), that at a minimum they stun their prey, which then falls
to the ground for ready consumption, or they sometimes break their prey's

If you are interested and can track down a DVD of Life of Birds, there are
great shots of Peregrines hunting in Wales in one of the middle episodes.

Douglas Carver
Albuquerque, NM
United States

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 7:25 PM, Evan Beaver <> wrote:

> 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
> head!
> 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?
> Eb
> 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
> > (M) 0411 716177
> >

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