Date: 4/5/17 5:26 pm
From: steve cottrell <miami.07...>
Subject: Re: Wood duck, R.I.P., Schuylkill Co. (or maybe Berks)
Another possible culprit is a Great Horned Owl. If a pair is nesting in the area, the duck would have been carried off as a meal for the young.

steve cottrell

Chester Co

From: Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania <PABIRDS...> on behalf of Scott Weidensaul <scottweidensaul...>
Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 4:19 PM
To: <PABIRDS...>
Subject: [PABIRDS] Wood duck, R.I.P., Schuylkill Co. (or maybe Berks)

Last evening my wife Amy and I decided to take a long walk along the crest of the Kittatinny Ridge, right along the Schuylkill/Berks line. In the middle of the dirt Game Lands road, we found two locations where a large raptor had plucked and eaten a male wood duck not all that much earlier in the day, since the gusty wind hadn't disturbed the feather puddles too badly. The elegant lemon flank feathers, beloved of dryfly-tiers, were lying in bunches of a dozen or so each.

If I had a DNA sequencer I suppose I could have scraped up the large, white splotch of urates and identified the predator, but our hunch is it had to have been a peregrine. Few raptors would have been big enough or agile enough to catch a woodie, and had it been a big accipiter like a Coop or a goshawk, I suspect the hawk would have moved the carcass into the shelter of the woods, instead of feeding at two locations about 30 yards apart in the middle of a very open area. It would have been nice to have seen the raptor -- but then, we would have disturbed the meal and perhaps scared it off its meal. Perhaps someone did, only the breast and flank feathers, along with a few tertials, were present. The predator may have sated its immediate hunger, then flown off with the rest for later.

Scott Weidensaul
Schuylkill Haven, PA
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