[Tweeters] owls and carrion

Wilson Cady gorgebirds at juno.com
Sat Dec 5 18:28:36 PST 2020

On March 21, 2004 I flushed a Burrowing Owl from the carcass of a road killed Red-tailed Hawk while conducting a survey on the Steigerwald Lake NWR, Clark County. I did not see it actually feeding on the hawk carcass but an examination showed that something had opened the breast. Wilson Cady
Columbia River Gorge, WA

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at yahoo.com>
To: "pond at whidbey.com" <pond at whidbey.com>
Cc: Tweeters Tweeters <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Tweeters] owls and carrion
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2020 01:13:55 +0000 (UTC)

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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Tweeters at u.washington.edu
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