Sunday, February 06, 2005

Wildlife Clues

I recently found this pile of crawdad claws and bits of shell. (Or crawfish or crayfish, depending on where you live.) I suspect that it's the remains of a red-shouldered hawk's dinner. I've seen them catching crawdads before at Lake Purdy, and just the other day I saw one swooping down to go SPLAT into the water at the pond's edge, catching something small in his talons.

I'm not sure if the hawk opens the shell and eats the good parts, or if he swallows it whole and then regurgitates the shell. (If you know please tell me.) I spread these out a little bit for the picture.

Red-tailed hawks eat crawdads too, but I don't think it's as much a part of their diet as it is for the red-shoulders.

By the way, most of the time on TV when you hear the majestic cry of the bald eagle... it's actually a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles don't sound impressive enough I guess, so sound editors often make the substitution, figuring that most people won't know the difference. Go here to hear what bald eagles really sound like.


orphyus said...

Hawks do not share, Hemingway said. One time I came home from middle school to find that one had crashed through our living room window. The goldfinch it was chasing bounced off. The hawk, um, didn't.

Susan said...

I'm not sure about the regurgitation question, I would guess that they'd tear nd pick the meat out of the shell rather than regurgitate it, but I'd have to research further to be sure.
Could it be a raccoon? They love crawdads--have you seen in any around there? Did you find any droppings near this?


Rurality said...

Orphyus, I started to title that one "Hawks Don't Share" or "What Hawks Share" but I figured that one Stephen Duffy reference per week was enough. :)

Susan, I haven't been able to find the info on the internet. I do have some natural history bird books but they are packed up at present. The reason I thought the shells might be regurgitated was because of the little bits of shell on the lower left that seemed to be crunched up and stuck together. (Yum, huh?)

We have seen raccoon scat but not in this area. The fact that the shells were so close together made me believe that it wasn't raccoons but I could be wrong... The shells were under a tree that I've seen hawks sitting in.

Berenjena said...

As I was lunching at DQ in Inverness several weeks ago I saw a hawk swoop down into the pond beside IHOP. He took as long to eat his lunch as I took to eat mine, and when I finished I walked his direction to find the back legs of a pretty substantial bullfrog.

I didn't realized hawks enjoyed aquatic delicacies but between your observation and mine I guess they do.