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Marsh harrier eating carrion

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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 16:53   #1
Fernando np
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Marsh harrier eating carrion

Hi,

This morning, I've been surprised by a marsh harrier laboriously eating on a roe deer. The mammals was a roadkill. The raptor was taking advantage of the flesh what had left without skin cause of the accident.
This bird is common in my area and this has been the first time I've seen one eating carrion. The same can be said about hen and montagu's harriers, also common. Eating carrion can't be a important source of food for harriers, at least here, in the middle of Spain.
I'd like to know your opinions.

Fernando
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 18:00   #2
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Last year I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks on the Greek island of Antikythira as part of a ringing team during April. They trapped and rung Marsh Harriers and Pallied Harriers, all attracted to carrion which was used as bait. Apparently when the birds are migrating feeding on carrion for Harriers of all types is quite common
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 18:31   #3
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Photo taken last Spring of a Pallid Harrier caught and rung using carrion as bait
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 18:39   #4
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Marsh Harrier also caught and rung om Antikythira using Carrion as bait
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Old Friday 1st February 2019, 21:56   #5
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I am sure Marsh Harriers have been recorded feeding on carrion at Martin Mere Nature Reserve, Lancashire in the winter.
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Old Friday 1st February 2019, 23:37   #6
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AFAIK, almost anything will eat carrion, so long as they feel safe doing so - it is after all, free protein. Even cows have been recorded eating carrion. The problems for opportunist scavenging are in terms of whether the meat is fresh enough to be safe, and whether there might be a stronger predator (potential original killer of the carrion) or dedicated scavenger hiding nearby that could be a threat.
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2019, 01:54   #7
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Quote:
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AFAIK, almost anything will eat carrion, so long as they feel safe doing so - it is after all, free protein.
As featured the other night on "Winterwatch":-
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2019, 02:35   #8
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As featured the other night on "Winterwatch":-
This is an amazing article Jack!
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2019, 08:40   #9
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I have watched a greatit eating meat of a part deconposed rabbit out side a fox earth,side of the river calder in Lancashire.
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2019, 14:45   #10
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I saw a Turnstone pulling bits of flesh off a dolphin corpse at Lymington marshes, Hants many years ago, I have some photos of it somewhere. The dolphin didn't have a head which made it easier for the Turnstone to pull the flesh from the exposed flesh of the neck.
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Old Saturday 2nd February 2019, 15:01   #11
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Harrier sometimes eating carrion should be pretty normal.

People put automatic cameras at carrion in Poland and found that everything carnivore sometimes eats carrion, even small raptors, small mustelids and owls. Also woodpeckers and tits (that is why people put a pice of fat out of the window for Bluetits).

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Old Tuesday 5th February 2019, 21:42   #12
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Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
AFAIK, almost anything will eat carrion, so long as they feel safe doing so - it is after all, free protein. Even cows have been recorded eating carrion. The problems for opportunist scavenging are in terms of whether the meat is fresh enough to be safe, and whether there might be a stronger predator (potential original killer of the carrion) or dedicated scavenger hiding nearby that could be a threat.
Quite agree Nutcracker,in my opinion any raptor (ih the UK at least) will eat carrion it is easier than hunting especially in winter. On rare occasions,here in the Dales we have even seen the feisty little Merlin pull at carrion
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Old Thursday 7th February 2019, 16:35   #13
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I saw a March harrier feeding on a roadkill pheasant last autumn
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Old Thursday 7th February 2019, 16:40   #14
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I saw a marsh harrier feeding on a roadkill pheasant this autumn. A long way from typical habitat too.
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