Date: 2/13/18 7:24 am
From: Scott Weidensaul <scottweidensaul...>
Subject: Re: Northern Harrier trying to feed on a non-food item.
It might not have been trying to eat it, per se, as much as toying with it and exploring it. Raptors are by nature curious, and will often grab things other than prey out of curiosity, playfulness or even (I would argue) boredom. Picking at something with its beak is a natural way of exploring an object (as dogs do with their noses and mouths, and humans with our hands). So I’m not sure I would call it a “problem” unless the bird was actually ingesting whatever this mystery object was, as does sometimes happen. California condor chicks, for example, have a serious problem with ingesting bits of junk that they encounter. But I’ve seen raptors repeatedly grab and release blowing trash, like a cat playing with dangled string, and sometimes pick and tug and tear at it as though it was prey.

Scott Weidensaul
Schuylkill Haven, PA

> On Feb 13, 2018, at 10:02 AM, Stanley C Stahl <000000ccb896003a-dmarc-request...> wrote:
> An adult male Northern Harrier picked up a large item, flew around with it, and landed again, and started pecking at it, and appeared to take bits of it off to eat. I couldn’t tell what it was, but it seemed to be a non food item. This has to be a problem with birds of prey, and other birds,as well. Vultures, Crows, and others are seen doing this very often.The harrier was seen just east of Middle Creek WMA near the quilter’s homestead.Stan Stahl
> Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad
Join us on Facebook!