[Tweeters] owls and carrion

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 5 17:13:55 PST 2020

Dear Tweeters,
On Christmas Day of 2006, I saw a Northern Pygmy Owl at a carcass. My friend's dog had killed a spotted skunk. This was along the South Skagit Highway, not far east of Day Creek. The dog had been playing with the carcass during the afternoon. By the time I drove down the wooded driveway, it was 1300, and the dog had long since abandoned its toy--and retreated to his doghouse, whence he was banished for several days, for the crime of first-degree stinkiness. 
I was not sure if the owl were actually feeding on the dead skunk, but I think it was. Perhaps there were insects drawn to the carcass, and the owl was feeding on them? Probably not.
That was the only time I had ever seen any suggestion of evidence of an owl feeding on carrion.
I still have never seen a live spotted skunk. In fact, I hardly ever see live striped skunks in Washington. Back east, I see skunks just about every time I visit. I wonder if our skunks are more cautious than the ones on the east coast.
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch
On Saturday, December 5, 2020, 11:00:00 AM PST, pond at whidbey.com <pond at whidbey.com> wrote:

I’ve been meaning to ask for comments on this and am just getting to it.


This summer a took a road-killed fawn I saw along the road to my property and set up two game cameras to capture our local coyotes enjoying it. But they were spooked by the cameras and after a month, with only skin and bones left, I took the cameras down. That night the coyotes scattered the hide and bones all over the place and along their trail. Later I started going through the photos – way too many photos. I captured deer avoiding then sniffing the carcass, rabbits, cats, a rat etc. I ran out of time and set the cards aside. Later this autumn, before deleting the files, I decided to just randomly check more of the shots quickly and fortunately saw that I had captured a Great Horned Owl exploring and tugging at the carcass. I didn’t know they would scavenge. Any thoughts?


A couple of photos and two short videos here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/72752646@N04/X5701N




Sego Jackson, Whidbey Island
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