Date: 9/22/18 8:44 pm
From: Nagi Aboulenein <nagi.aboulenein...>
Subject: [obol] Re: A Ruff life
That’s very interesting - I saw these markings as I was (and still am) sifting through and processing my photos from today (to be posted shortly), and was wondering what might have caused them. A raptor near miss will do nicely for an explanation.

Thanks, Wayne!

Nagi
On Sep 22, 2018, 8:33 PM -0700, Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>, wrote:
> Hi -
>
> As Caleb and others posted the continuing Ruff was present at the HMSC nature Trail today (Newport).
>
> I have observed and photographed this bird on Sept. 11, Sept 21 (yesterday) and Sept. 22 (today). [also saw it but no photos Sept. 12]
>
> The bird has always been very active trotting about and bending down to pick up tiny food items, but this evening, while downloading today's photos I noticed signs of an apparent near miss in the previous 24 hours.
> Today the bird has single small indents into the skin low on the cheeks, behind the gape.disturbing the feathers.  I checked and checked photos from yesterday and Sept 11, confirming that these marks were new.
>
> The photos numbered 1055 (left side) and 1152 (right side) were taken today.  7311 was taken Sept. 11, and 7486 was taken Yesterday.  Today's show these indents/ feather disturbances,which were not there yesterday or before.
>
> The most likely explanation I can come up with for these marks is that they are talon marks from a very near miss by a raptor.  If anyone has a better explanation please let us know. The species most often seeing hunting shorebirds in this area are Peregrine, Merlin, and Northern Harrier, but a Cooper's hawk would not be totally out of the question.
>
> Ornithologists had assumed for decades that Peregrines hit their prey with closed feet, but recent studies with high-speed video have shown that Peregrines actually hit with spread toes, grab quickly, and immediately release their prey.  Evidently this bird was grabbed in a non-critical spot (the mouth!) and not disabled.
>
> We seldom realize how dangerous life is for juvenile birds on their first migrations.
>
> Wayne

 
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