Thursday, 26 September 2013

One Frogmouth less

The scattered feathers of a plucked Tawny Frogmouth
Today, while checking what used to be a Tawny Frogmouth territory, looking for this year's nest, I couldn't find anything. No nest, no birds. Then I found out why. There was a cluster of plucked feathers, from a Tawny Frogmouth, lying not far from the previous year's nest site. As the quills were all pulled out rather than snapped off, this is indicative of the bird having been killed and eaten by a raptor, most likely a Brown Goshawk as they nest a few hundred metres from the site. A mammal would have bitten off the feathers leaving cut shafts.

The kill was not recent, and as I could not find even a partially-built nest, I reckoned that the bird had been killed before the pair had began nesting. I still could not find the other bird of the pair, but it might have shifted a few hundred metres, and perhaps found a new mate and still be breeding. That will take another visit to check.

The complete shafts indicate that the feathers were plucked by a raptor.

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