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Mallards eating other birds

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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 16:42   #1
sueKay
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Mallards eating other birds

I witnessed a female mallard try and drown a robin today before seagulls got a hold of it and tried to kill it by dropping it. I managed to get it away from them but it passed away in my hands anyway, probably from the shock :(

I'm not surprised at the gulls, but is this normal for ducks? We do have very bad weather (over a foot of snow at the moment), so is that the reason?
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 16:55   #2
DaveN
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Maybe weather related, however, this has been documented before. There was a thread here recently on the very subject. There's some footage somewhere of a Mallard trying to drown a Sand Martin.
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 16:58   #3
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Here's a link to such an event. It says for the first time but like I said it has been noted before.
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 17:07   #4
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In my experience Mallards will tackle and attempt to eat any animal they’re able to overpower and swallow. Here’s a couple of (non-avian) examples—

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fugl/1...7602221544709/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/fugl/2...7602221544709/

If memory serves, they’ve also been recorded eating vertebrate roadkill.
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 17:28   #5
sueKay
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Thanks for the replies, I had googled but hadn't found much but yeah, I know most birds will try and kill anything they can eat...I'd just never seen it from Mallards before.

I'd hoped the Robin would make it - it was moving around in my hand after I got a hold of it and I tried to get it to grip my little finger with its feet but I think being in the water and being dropped from a good couple of metres into the snow was too much for it's heart. :(
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 19:07   #6
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That's your opinion, and if I'd been in the middle of nowhere I would have let nature take its course but this was ducks and seagulls in a touristy village where people are down feeding them constantly...it was one Robin and I didn't want to watch it getting torn limb from limb by seagulls.

I did also leave the robin somewhere where it will make a meal for another animal without causing a free for all among a flock of seagulls.
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 19:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sueKay View Post
That's your opinion, and if I'd been in the middle of nowhere I would have let nature take its course but this was ducks and seagulls in a touristy village where people are down feeding them constantly...it was one Robin and I didn't want to watch it getting torn limb from limb by seagulls.
Good for you. I would have done the same.
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 19:43   #8
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Wow. I'd never heard of this. I wonder how a mallard caught a robin? Maybe it was hypothermic? Even stranger is how a duck could catch a sand martin!
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Old Thursday 1st March 2018, 19:57   #9
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The Robin was down at the river's edge...I'd tried to coax the Robin away from there because one duck had already snapped at it, but I think it was trying to get on the only bit of ground that wasn't snowy - right at the water's edge. It was a bit out of sorts - it didn't fly away when I got near it - he just hopped a bit, and refused to take food. I'd have expected him to see the food, grab a bit and fly off but he didn't really respond, and I think his wings were already wet. It's been really cold though and snowing for 48 hours straight. I wish I'd been able to catch him because I was concerned, but I wasn't expecting a duck to grab him and drag him into the river :(
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 07:37   #10
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Hmmm. Well done for trying, Sue. But it sounds as though the robin was going to end up as a meal anyway.
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 10:03   #11
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Here's a link to the thread last year which also contains several other links.
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 11:18   #12
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Mallards will eat much what they can fit into their bill. I saw one struggling to swallow a big crayfish, which was even more difficult than a Robin.

I think your Robin was dying from hunger anyway, that is why it let itself be caught by a Mallard.
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Old Tuesday 6th March 2018, 16:17   #13
Joern Lehmhus
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Well, mallards are known to eat anything that goes through their neck. somewhere there was a picture in te web of a mallard taking a wood mouse (which also had to be soaked in water before it could be swallowed).

I was more surprised when I read that on the breading grounds Common Eider and King Eider may occasionally eat lemmings when they are abundant... haven´t seen that behavour photograped though.
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