Killer Claws

To: "'Michael Hunter'" <>, <>
Subject: Killer Claws
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2018 09:47:41 +1100
Michael, why would it be that: "Mice are obviously caught and killed in
bills". Why is that obvious? If it were true, why would they all have sharp
talons? Look at the Barn Owl that is a real mouse specialist. Compare their
feet to the small weak feet of the Frogmouth, that captures food by mouth.
There is any amount of film available of owls catching mice, voles, etc and
it is done by their feet. Mostly from Europe. Surely the same by the larger

Other large Australian owls eat possums and rabbits. Up to you whether you
call these large mammals (in the Australian context maybe they are).

As for goshawks and similar, they capture prey by their feet but once caught
they hold on with their feet and start ripping into the prey with their
beak, they may start eating the prey whilst it is still alive. Sometime
quite gruesome. The killing is done by both feet and beak. There is any
amount of film of this on the internet. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Michael Hunter
Sent: Saturday, 15 December, 2018 9:25 AM
To: <>
Subject: Killer Claws

The mystery killer at Torquay prompts a question as to how avian raptors do
actually kill their prey.

Despite their great hooked beaks, Wedge-tailed Eagles kill with their claws,
using their beaks to tear up their victims, or any carrion they eat.  Or so
I once read.

Apart from Powerful Owls do any Australian Owls prey on large mammals. Mice
are obviously caught and killed in bills, so presumably possums would be an
extension of that technique, but, to be pedantic, does anyone really know if
they are claw or bill killers?

Another unrelated question.  We have a continuous stream of many different
bird species coming to our yard at different times of day, attracted by a
bird feeder and kitchen scraps which they recycle.
A family of six Purple Gallinules, including three sub-adult juveniles from
the dam over 10Om away, very habituated to humans over the years, has
invaded our yard. 
Initially this was  a welcome development but they are there all the time,
coming onto the verandah a and their large droppings are a big problem.
Being habituated, when chased they walk a few metres away, look back at the
chaser then return.
We don't have a dog anymore and handed the shotgun in years ago.(joking).
Any humane solutions apart from not feeding our flock ?


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