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Ever wonder why they go after the head?

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I don't think it is anything more than it's an easy place to start dismantling the victim, whether just to kill it or eat it. I don't think owls are special that way.

If they can swallow it whole, of course, then they skip the decapitation.

Weasels seem to do the same thing to mice. Head first. Then the rest. My dogs do it with rabbits. Always head first.


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If the scene is left undisturbed the head eater whether feather or furred returns the next day to continue eating.
Formula: C21H22N2O2 is an old doggers trick.
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Strychnine really, really sucks.


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Yeah I know that & that is why it is no longer available to Joe Citizen.
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Originally Posted By: ClapperZapper
Ever wonder why they go after the head?


Theory is or has been that the brains are highly nutritious and also taste good to hawk and owls. Where prey numbers are high enough it is not uncommon for hawks to just eat the head, if you raise enough chickens with hawks around you most likely have seen that.

Mayo Clinic Rochester, Mn. has participated in a peregrine falcon breeding program since the mid 80's with a nesting pair on top of one the taller buildings. There are plenty of pigeons for them to pick from and they often eat just the heads in mid air after the kill and drop the rest on the sidewalks below. We have a team that goes around and picks up the dead pigeons every morning before patients show up. Apparently some are offended by headless bloodied pigeons in their path.

There are only something like 50 nesting pair of peregrine falcons in Mn. and most are in man made structures. The birds that are moved to the bluffs along the Mississippi river which is their nature habit usually don't make it through the first year. Great Horned Owls are the reason why. The peregrine is one of the few raptors that can give a GHO a run for the money. But the GHO pick them off at night sitting on the cliffs and the main reason their numbers are not climbing.

While fly fishing a couple of years ago stumbled across one of the few peregrine nesting pair in the wild here.





Have been checking on them for the last 2 years and so far still around.

I also shoot a lot of bald eagles. While I watch them pick off a coot once in awhile, and bless them they are welcome to all they can get LOL, they aren't the most "rapture" of raptures. Have watched dozens of them pick through fresh spread manure in a field. And old road kill is not beneath them. They also spend more time trying to steal food from other eagles then they do getting their own. They are certainly a different type of rapture than owls and hawks in my book.



Baldies are also the easiest to shoot. With the camera of course. Hawks are much harder and owls the most difficult of all. I like hooters the best personally.

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Originally Posted By: Cold Iron
Originally Posted By: ClapperZapper
Ever wonder why they go after the head?


Theory is or has been that the brains are highly nutritious and also taste good to hawk and owls. Where prey numbers are high enough it is not uncommon for hawks to just eat the head, if you raise enough chickens with hawks around you most likely have seen that.

Mayo Clinic Rochester, Mn. has participated in a peregrine falcon breeding program since the mid 80's with a nesting pair on top of one the taller buildings. There are plenty of pigeons for them to pick from and they often eat just the heads in mid air after the kill and drop the rest on the sidewalks below. We have a team that goes around and picks up the dead pigeons every morning before patients show up. Apparently some are offended by headless bloodied pigeons in their path.

There are only something like 50 nesting pair of peregrine falcons in Mn. and most are in man made structures. The birds that are moved to the bluffs along the Mississippi river which is their nature habit usually don't make it through the first year. Great Horned Owls are the reason why. The peregrine is one of the few raptors that can give a GHO a run for the money. But the GHO pick them off at night sitting on the cliffs and the main reason their numbers are not climbing.

While fly fishing a couple of years ago stumbled across one of the few peregrine nesting pair in the wild here.





Have been checking on them for the last 2 years and so far still around.

I also shoot a lot of bald eagles. While I watch them pick off a coot once in awhile, and bless them they are welcome to all they can get LOL, they aren't the most "rapture" of raptures. Have watched dozens of them pick through fresh spread manure in a field. And old road kill is not beneath them. They also spend more time trying to steal food from other eagles then they do getting their own. They are certainly a different type of rapture than owls and hawks in my book.



Baldies are also the easiest to shoot. With the camera of course. Hawks are much harder and owls the most difficult of all. I like hooters the best personally.


Great post, brother.

We have a Bald Eagle's nest that overlooks the dock at our summer place, it's about 15 feet high.....creates severe legal restrictions on where else we can build on the island. I'm glad they are around, I wish they'd move their nest to the next, unoccupied island but they aren't my favorite raptor.

Ospreys and Owls!


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Many years ago, a friend told me that, while at a campground in Alaska, he saw raptor, it might have been an owl, but I don't remember, grab a small dog on a leash and try to fly off with it. A tug-of-war followed between the raptor and the dog's owner holding the end of the leash. The raptor finally gave up, released the dog, and flew off. The dog fell to the ground and survived the attack.

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Originally Posted By: canvasback

Great post, brother.

We have a Bald Eagle's nest that overlooks the dock at our summer place, it's about 15 feet high.....creates severe legal restrictions on where else we can build on the island. I'm glad they are around, I wish they'd move their nest to the next, unoccupied island but they aren't my favorite raptor.

Ospreys and Owls!


Brother canvasback!

Well guess it should come as no surprise to either of us that the Osprey is my favorite and at the top of my list. Unfortunately they are even more rare than the Peregrine Falcon here. Doesn't stop me from looking each Spring though! 4 years ago on the Wi. side of the river did catch a pair in a nesting box more than a quarter mile from the bank.



My first bird picture was of a "fish hawk" back in the early 70's with a Polaroid camera. Osprey were still somewhat plentiful then.

I hope that all is well with you!

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This thread brings back memories of my summers growing up when we moved to the lake for the season. At his business, my dad raised birds as sort of a hobby and tourist attraction - ringnecks, goldens, silvers, wood ducks, chukars, bobwhite, pea fowl - various others. He thought he would stock our island for shooting come fall but none of the pheasants lasted more than a night. All were killed by mink and found headless in the morning. The guinea fowl had a reputation of guard dogs among bird flocks but likewise all were found first morning without their heads. I'm quite sure through the summers we would have known if there was an owl about and quite confident the carnage was by mink.

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