Friday, July 25, 2008

Holy moly

Niki at work just called me over to her cubey window again, but this time it wasn't to see a beautiful Cooper's hawk.

No, this time I zipped over to her cubey and looked out the window, only to see a gigantic American crow
EATING.
A.
STARLING.

No, not THIS Starling:

THIS starling:
(source)
Wow. Niki said the little bird was a window-strike victim, only a few minutes ago. The crow appeared out of nowhere and started feasting on what was probably still a warm body (eewwww)!

Wish I could tell you that I had my camera, but I don't. However, I have to describe what happened.

I watched as the crow pecked and pecked at the neck and shoulder area of the bird. "Why is he doing that?" I asked myself.

Then the starling's head came off.

*gulp* That's why.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the crow then proceeded to eat the head! He pecked at its little skinny bird neck/spine and finally, after pretty much finishing all the --ahem-- meat off, the crow
SWALLOWED.
THE.
HEAD.

BEAK.
AND.
ALL.

Yes--you read that right: beak and all! He just picked up the skull and beak, tipped his head back, and down it went! Holy crap! Will he upchuck a little pellet later?

So I watched a while longer as the crow went back to the body and proceeded to peck at the open wound where the head used to be. A breast man, I guess. I'll say one thing for him: he didn't waste a morsel. He would pluck off some skin, kinda shake off the feathers, and then eat the skin.

Wow. I've never seen anything like that.

I need to go back and see if he'll eat (oh god) the feet too.

27 comments:

John said...

I have watched hawks dismantle birds, but I have never seen a crow do it.

dguzman said...

It was pretty gross! Niki says the bird left, with the corpse. She says maybe there was "a little piece of intestine or some other kind of innard" out there....

Owlman said...

Crows are soooo smart and I'm not a big Starling fan. It's ironic because I dislike them partly because they are not native (neither am I ;-) They are also obnoxious and chase other birds away (I'm social and I generally play nicely with others ;-)

What an amazing sight this must have been!

NCmountainwoman said...

I hate starlings and I love crows. That said, it is often gross to see Nature take her course.

DCup said...

Okay - this got to me. Could be because I'd just eaten.

Susan Gets Native said...

Stoopid blogger....didn't let me leave a comment earlier.
Crows ARE omnivores...but the head? And the beak? That's hard core!

I doubt it would bother with the feet. Not a lot of meat there. But it might use one for a toothpick.

: )

KatDoc said...

Lots of things eat the head of their prey, and often it is the first course. Great Horned Owls, for one, and cats (Sorry!), and I have even read about chipmunks eating the heads of birds they find on the ground (window-strikes, etc.)

I suspect it is because brain tissue is very nutritious.

Great observations, although a little on the gross side!

~Kathi

Mary said...

I didn't know crows did that! I thought they only ate french fries. They are very intelligent, you know.

I guess I would have watched, too. But I saw Chloe eat a bird once - one she caught in flight. She left the skull but ate everything else!

You know, I have too many starlings and grackles STILL. The hawks are not doing a very good job around here. They used to pluck a dove or two every week. I'd like to see them dive bomb a few dozen starlings...

Angry Ballerina said...

OMG AWESOME POST!

:D

Earl Cootie said...

I'm a big corvidophile, but . . . just Ewwwwww.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Quite a few window strikes here too ... Ma Nature is a toughie ... the circle of life.

Marilyn Monroe? No, can't say as I do! It has not rained here since July 3 .. probably won't much, if at all, before September now. So, no rainbows ... thanks for the photos to remember.

We all await the news of how many verses of Roll On Columbia you all sang!!!!

Mel said...

WOW
Thanks for the 'pretty' images you just put in my head! LOL

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Circle of life my friend.

Mauigirl said...

Eeww. I know crows eat roadkill and stuff (we call them Carrion Crows) but didn't know they were cannibalistic too. Oh well, nature can be cruel!

dguzman said...

Owlman--like watching a car wreck: you don't want to see, but you can't look away.

NCMtnWoman--I don't much like crows, and I felt bad for the starling. What a way to go.

Dcup--yeah, I was glad it wasn't at lunchtime.

Susan--he flew away with his prize before we could see whether he would eat the feet too. Crazy crows!

Katdoc--no wonder mummies eat brains! They want nutrition.

Mary--and popcorn!

Angry--thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Earl--Eeeww indeed. But I still couldn't look away.

Rabbits' Guy--wait 'til I get that Photoshop composite made!

Mel--my mental pics are real, dude! I had to share my horror (and fascination).

Dr. M--yes indeed.

Maui--The Kid is always saying "eeww, a crow! they eat each other!" She read it in a book. Go figure.

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