A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

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Cela
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:43 am

A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Cela » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:09 pm

Hi, I was wondering if anyone could cast any light on a rather macabre discovery I made this morning. On my 2nd story balcony the newly severed head of a baby blackbird, just hatched by the look of it. How could it have got there, and who decapitated it? Does anyone have any thoughts? I'm baffled, and a little concerned.
SomesBirder
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Location: Eastbourne

Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby SomesBirder » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:43 pm

Recently in Wellington, a falcon was seen catching and killing a wood pigeon. The falcon severed the wood pigeon's head while eating it.
what in god's name is a folly tomo
Cela
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:43 am

Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Cela » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:37 am

Thanks SomesBirder. I will keep a look out for Falcons I guess. I’ve just planted the garden out in natives to bring the birds so I really hope it doesn’t happen again.
Jim_j
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Jim_j » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:02 am

Very unlikely to be a Falcon responsible in central Auckland - more likely a rat.

Cheers
Jim
Cela
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:43 am

Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Cela » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:38 am

Hi Jim, A falcon does seem unlikely, but wouldn't a rat, or a cat eat the head first? I have to say its a very neat cut. And then there is the question of how it got 30 feet up in the air and onto the balcony...
Jim_j
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Jim_j » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:09 pm

Yeah true that does suggest an avian predator.
Guess there could be a range of suspects - morepork, kingfisher, myna, magpie - maybe rosella? - even another blackbird is not impossible.
They are all probably more likely than a Falcon - even a passing LT Cuckoo is more likely than Falcon in Auckland
If the bird was being carried in a beak by the neck the head could have separated in flight?

Cheers
Jim
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simon.fordham
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby simon.fordham » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:24 pm

If it was morepork, it is more likely for the head to be eaten and the body left.
Cela
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Cela » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:17 pm

Thank you all so much for your replies, I have a preponderance of kingfishers, myna’s, magpies and have seen a few rosellas lately. I think you are right Jim_j a dead bird was being carried and the head separated in flight. I found another (entire) dead baby blackbird on a lower deck yesterday-so they do fall out of nests. Then this morning I found a large crust on the balcony, which backs up the dropped in flight theory.

Hope you have all voted for Bird of the Year!
Ian McLean
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Ian McLean » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:41 pm

"Guess there could be a range of suspects - morepork, kingfisher, myna, magpie - maybe rosella?"

Jim, that's interesting that you suspect a Rosella as a possible predator of this dead bird. I can't find any notes about Rosella's predating nestlings or killing any other birds. Can you please provide any information you have about this ? Although they eat insects in addition to fruit, flower buds etc, they appear not to have the predatory reputation of say the Antipodes Island Parakeet !

Unfortunately, I find that when it comes to birds from Australia (be they native or introduced) people seem to have a wishful anti Australian tendancy to blame them for things that they do not actually do !

Cheers
Ian
Jim_j
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Re: A macabre discovery in Ponsonby

Postby Jim_j » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:43 pm

Hi Ian
Just idle speculation on my part.
As you mention members of the parrot family have been known to predate animals - I believe kaka have been identified preying on nesting birds in Zelandia.
I also included kingfisher in my list of suspects but I'm not sure they have ever been identified as taking nestlings?
I suspect many omnivorous birds may be more opportunistic than is generally suspected.
Cheers Jim

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