Sunday, March 14, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Falcon dines again (Also: Comments Fixed!)

Our apologies to those of you who have complained about difficulties in posting comments. Obviously that's not what we're going for. We made a few changes that we hope will help. Write back to us at our maganrord email if you have any further difficulties.

Now to the meat of it.

She looks happy. As usual, there are more pictures of all sizes on my flickr.

Sorry for the graininess on these photos and videos. These photos were taken utilizing a ridiculous level of optical and digital zoom. I love my camera. It's not the $3,000 body and lens setup I dream of, but somehow this combination of 80x zoom and a tripod can yield somewhat intelligible images at great distances.

It's unknown what this prey item was. Several white feathers fell from the smokestack as she ate. Several of my final images of her eating show her standing on a white feather, presumably from her quarry.

Here are a few very short videos of her dining.

I guess it wouldn't be a proper MAGANRORD post without a falcon video with semi-humorous narration.

In the following video, she finishes up and departs.

I was truly struck by just how red the meal left her beak and talons.

Also, the white feathers invite a bit of curiosity. The only prey item available that yields consistently white feathers is a gull, and our gulls are probably a little too big for her. Pigeons can be lightly plumed, so that's possible, though every feather I saw was as white as snow so I'm a little bit skeptical of that possibility. Our snowy egrets haven't returned yet, so they're ruled out.

Peregrines do scavenge and dead gulls have been turning up on Alcatraz. There were two such departed on the roof of the new industries building this afternoon.

Whatever the prey was, the female filled her crop and there were leftovers:

If the female abandoned her bird without finishing it, it may have been a large bird, like a gull or it may reflect her assessment of available prey. Slim pickings will mean a thoroughly devoured corpse. Abundance means she eats her preferred parts and leaves leftovers for others to scavenge.

Who says corvids and falcons can't be friends?

Also, meet this guy:

I saw him duke it out with another WEGU in a half hour brawl over what a visitor who witnessed the madness said was just a morsel of food. The whole thing made me positively squeamish and I think it led to some rather shaky camera work as I recorded the encounter.

I'm going to post our 26 minute video in the coming days. I don't expect that anyone will watch it but I do want to make a point about the gull's way of life. It's awful. It's not all mating and gloriously forcing down huge starfish. It's a lot of senseless violence. Ounces of blood and a half hour of combat leaving both gulls exhausted seems like it isn't worth a bit of chicken, which is readily available to these gulls.

Stay tuned.


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