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Hunting Crows

Kestrel food
Kestrel food

As a brief postscript to the previous note on larsen traps, I’ve noticed crows becoming more and more pro-active when it comes to finding food. Perhaps I am just getting better at noticing it and this is nothing new, but I’ve found crows killing frogs several times, and have even seen them carrying off young adders. I don’t believe that crows are anything like as damaging to adders as buzzards are, but I have seen them eating young snakes up to a length of perhaps eight inches long. How they avoid getting nipped is a mystery, and I would love to see a crow getting his comeuppance from a little snake. I mentioned this on this blog a few years ago, but I have been seeing more and more of it recently.

I have also seen crows take slow worms and lizards, although not so frequently as frogs or adders, and it is interesting that the “carrion” crow should be cunning and adaptable enough to actively hunt as well as forage.

Interestingly, I watched a kestrel eating a lizard while out stalking a few nights ago, hanging up in the wind and feeding from its fistful of flesh with a series of carefully performed passes from foot to mouth. I don’t often get to see kestrels feeding on the wing, and it was a fascinating little moment over the heather. An hour later, I came across a heavily pregnant female lizard lying out of the wind amongst the roots of the heather, and even in her bloated state, I marvelled at the kestrel’s ability to even find such a well-camouflaged little morsel in the undergrowth.

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