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Serial Killer

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  • Clifford
    I have a carnivorous grackle eating house sparrows in my yard. I have found three carcasses so far and have watched the grackle picking the bodies apart. I
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 1, 2010
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      I have a carnivorous grackle eating house sparrows in my yard. I have found three carcasses so far and have watched the grackle picking the bodies apart. I have not yet witnessed a kill. Has anyone ever heard of carnivorous grackles or do I have a serial killer in my yard?
    • pipilo7
      Twice in Central Park I ve seen a grackle drown what appeared to be a baby house sparrow in the Source of the Gill, a shallow waterfall in the Ramble. Last
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 1, 2010
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        Twice in Central Park I've seen a grackle drown what appeared to be a baby house sparrow in the Source of the Gill, a shallow waterfall in the Ramble. Last week another birder and I saw a blue jay fly by with a (featherless) nestling in its bill, hotly pursued by an adult robin. All three incidents occurred at times when grackles and blue jays were likely to be feeding young of their own.

        Eve Levine
        Manhattan

        --- In SINaturaList@yahoogroups.com, "Clifford" <cliffordhagen@...> wrote:
        >
        > I have a carnivorous grackle eating house sparrows in my yard. I have found three carcasses so far and have watched the grackle picking the bodies apart. I have not yet witnessed a kill. Has anyone ever heard of carnivorous grackles or do I have a serial killer in my yard?
        >
      • George Bouquio
        I have! One spring morning, I stepped out of my house, heard a loud commotion and saw a grackle pinning a house sparrow on the ground and striking at it with
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 1, 2010
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          I have! One spring morning, I stepped out of my house, heard a loud commotion and saw a grackle pinning a house sparrow on the ground and striking at it with its bill. Stepping out of my house, I guess I broke the grackle's concentration because the sparrow managed to fly off. That was quite a few years ago but it was such a creepy scene, I never forgot it.

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          >>> "Clifford" <cliffordhagen@...> 6/1/2010 8:04 AM >>>
          I have a carnivorous grackle eating house sparrows in my yard. I have found three carcasses so far and have watched the grackle picking the bodies apart. I have not yet witnessed a kill. Has anyone ever heard of carnivorous grackles or do I have a serial killer in my yard?




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        • CicadaMan1@aol.com
          Cliff, You may find this of interest: From Life Histories of North American Blackbirds, Orioles, Tanagers ans Allies by Arthur Cleveland Bent (1958): In its
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 1, 2010
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            Cliff,
             
            You may find this of interest:
             
            From Life Histories of North American Blackbirds, Orioles, Tanagers ans Allies by Arthur Cleveland Bent (1958):
             
             In its relations with other species the grackle not only indulges in the well-known habit of stealing eggs or young birds from the nests of its neighbors, but sometimes attacks and kills other birds in open places. In the National Zoological Park, in Washington, Malcolm Davis (1944) saw a purple grackle kill an English sparrow, which it had been stalking in almost catlike manner. * * * The sparrow was not long out of the nest, but was able to fly and take care of itself. A few days later I walked along the same area, and saw the kill. The grackle approached the sparrow and as the smaller bird flew away, the attacker seized its prey in its beak and gave it several hard shakes, with the body of the sparrow hitting the hard concrete pavement. At this moment passersby frightened the grackle away, but later the bird returned to eat the viscera of the sparrow."
             
            Frank B. Foster (1927) reports: "At my game farm on the Pickering Creek, in Chester Co., PA, we lost in the pheasant field almost three hundred little pheasants, a few days old, which were destroyed by purple grackles. The male grackles were the ones that did the damage. They came into the enclosure and simply took the heads off the little birds, leaving the bodies."
             
            And there you have it.
             
            Ed


             
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