Friday, 23 August 2013

Nature red in tooth and claw...or in this case talon and beak

Apologies if you are tender hearted or sensitive; the following post has pictures of dead things in it.

We think there is a peregrine hunting over our house and local park.  It is more than likely as we have our (famous) peregrines on the Newton Building and another breeding pair on the Gedling Church spire.  Evidence for this?

Tim and the boys were sat at the table when this magpie came crashing past the window and into the woodpile.  On going out to investigate, Tim noticed that the whole area was silent, not a birdsong to be heard anywhere.  This happens when the sparrowhawk is out and about, unless the crows are mobbing it.  When he went to look at the magpie it was quite obviously dead.

Being me, I grabbed the camera, a pair of gloves and headed out to photograph it.  The wound under it's wing was extensive and torn; you can see the the stain on the wing from it's bleeding.  Whatever hit it was strong and with ripping gear attached.  As a sparrowhawk is generally equal to a magpie in size and unlikely to have the strength for this size of bird we dismissed it as an unlikely suspect.  A peregrine however, is just the right size, speed and agility to aim for a prize of this size.

We have since scanned the sky but have not seen the culprit since.  I am afraid the magpie went to join the wildlife cemetery at the bottom of the garden.  But not before I took a range of photos.  They have the most beautiful plumage and delicate lines.  The iridescence of the purple and blue is stunning.

7 comments:

  1. that's so very sad, but yes, very beautiful too..even in death.

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    1. They are maligned birds, especially as they take young song birds, eggs and also frogs. But I have a fondness for them.

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  2. such a beautiful dead magpie but that's what falcons do! When I lived out in the bush a peregrine flew down to the chook yard, grabbed one of the hens, ripped off it's head, drank it's blood and flew away. I cooked it for dinner that night even though I was a vegetarian at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do.

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    1. I am ever in awe of the elegance with which peregrines hunt. They are quite incredible and the dive is one of the fastest speeds achieved by an animal. I love the fact they have baffles in their nostrils, that close up in excessive pressure. Without these they would not be able to achieve such speed.

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  3. i also enjoy investigating these situations and take photos as well. for curiosity, for information and perhaps for art inspiration. life is precious.

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    1. Same here. I mentioned the cemetery. It is more of a bone pit, as many years ago I unearthed the skull of a fox (lives on my classroom desk now). I find skeletons fascinating so will put this sort of casualty in the midden heap at the bottom of the garden. Once natures cleaners have finished I plan to fish out the bones, steam them to sterilize them and add them to the collection.

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  4. I once had a freezer with dozens of expired creatures, usually the victims of my cats. They made wonderful art models when needed., that is until the freezer broke down and all little critters were given a proper burial. I too find skeletons fascinating and have several "varieties" in my studio.

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