raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine strategy

To: "'Douglas Carver'" <>
Subject: raptor prey (was sea eagle observation) now Peregrine strategy
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2008 10:22:31 +1000
It is interesting to hear that Peregrines have the capacity to hit with such
force that they can break their prey's neck. Peregrines dive at such speed
that I do not doubt this.

Interestingly, in a study of bird impacts with towers and windows, Veltri &
Klem (2005), nearly all bird mortalities were as a result of substantial
haemorrhaging in the brain (resulting from the impact) and less than 11% had
skeletal fractures. Most notably, no cervical (neck) fractures or
dislocations were found in the 502 bird specimens that were examined.

Therefore, I wonder if a bird struck by a Peregrine from above actually dies
from brain injuries resulting from the force of the impact, or from a broken
neck. Perhaps the neck is more susceptible to breaking if impacted from
above and with potentially greater force (as in the case of a Peregrine
attack), compared with being impacted from the front of the head and with
potentially less force (in the case of a collision with a barrier). 

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW


Veltri, C.J. and Klem Jr, D. (2005). Comparison of fatal bird injuries from
collisions with towers and windows. Journal of Field Ornithology 76(2):


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