Peregrine strategy (was raptor prey)

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Peregrine strategy (was raptor prey)
From: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2008 19:14:21 +1000
Further from Stephen Debus:

This thing is dragging on a lot more than need be, if the
protagonists would just read the authoritative raptor
literature.  The 'knocking' with a clenched fist or back of the toes
is another myth, the falcon always strikes with the sole of the open
foot: a hard, downwards raking blow that delivers lot of force and
also slashes with the claws.   The beheading is almost always done
with the bill after the prey is killed or disabled by the strike or
clutch with the feet.  The strike with the feet will hardly ever of
itself cause the head to become detached, though it might lacerate
the neck or damage the skull.  It's hard to remove a bird's head
unless the neck vertebrae are cut (which is what the falcon's bill--
'tooth'/notch arrangement-- is designed to do); it's easy to kill a
bird with a blow between the shoulder blades and that's often where a
falcon strikes. And the speed of a stooping falcon is yet another
subject of myth.  The absolute fastest actually measured with radar
is just under 200 km/h (about 190, from memory) for a Peregrine, just
over 200 for the bigger/heavier Gyrfalcon.  This is in the scientific
literature, but not getting through (though I try!).  200 km/h is
impressive enough without having to exaggerate.

There is a photo that freezes the open-foot action in the Hollands
raptor book (Peregrine attacking a Galah).  True, it's trying to
grab, but the action is much the same as in the strike.  Philip
Veerman's original reply to this subject had it right.



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