[Tweeters] dead robin in the middle of the road - noon 11/9/13

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Sat Nov 9 16:09:30 PST 2013

Upon discovering a robin on it's back in the middle of my street today, I realized I couldn't say, without a doubt, what had happened before I found the bird. Aside from the fact that it was dead, missing its head and its breast was opened up, it looked to be in pretty good shape - no cars had yet flattened it and any animal(s) that might have started eating it or pulling off tufts of feathers, had made limited headway so far. Many scenarios played out for me, but I found that I wished I knew what had originally caused it's demise. Possible players in this drama that I could think of that are in or visitors to this neighborhood include: fermented berries, dogs (including the occasional coyote), cats, rats, raccoons, cars, Cooper's, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks, the occasional Merlin, Bald Eagles, crows, Barred Owls (one screeched and did the "who cooks..." last night around 12:30 a.m.), Barn Owls, opossums, and, of course, boys with Red Ryder rifles.

I just returned to the street and picked up the robin, which, by this time had met with a car or 2 and whose feathers had been lessened a bit by passersby. I placed the body on the ground in a little glade in my woods, knowing that it will soon become a snack or meal for some critter(s) that find it.

As I've rarely seen or watched predators catch or prepare and eat prey (with the exception of Merlins), I'm wondering if any of you with more or different experiences than I, have any ideas as to what initially captured this robin before losing it to the street and whatever else came along? I'm thinking Cooper's Hawk most likely, but also wondered if a Barred Owl could/would pick off a roosting robin, behead it and then possibly be chased away by the first crows of the day, dropping the prey as it flew - (or a crow stole it and dropped it?)

If you would need more clues before suggesting a most likely scenario, this CSI investigator welcomes that response, too. Just trying to make this sad little scene brighten this dark day by showing a silver lining of clues that could spark some learning :-)

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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