Date: 4/5/17 5:43 pm
From: Scott Weidensaul <scottweidensaul...>
Subject: Re: Wood duck, R.I.P., Schuylkill Co. (or maybe Berks)
True, but great horned owls are not known for their delicate plucking of prey, and this breast and flanks of this woodie had been meticulously plucked. That narrows it down, in my experience, to either a big accipiter or a big falcon, and as I mentioned in the original post, the fact that the raptor plucked and ate in two locations that were both open and some distance from trees makes me doubt it was an accipiter. But maybe it was an owl with uncommon manners.


Scott Weidensaul
Schuylkill Haven, PA

On Apr 5, 2017, at 8:26 PM, steve cottrell wrote:

> 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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