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Dead headless birds in my backyard.
What would killing them?

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26 replies to this topic

#1 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:42 AM

Over the last month we have found around 10 dead birds in our backyard, they are usually decapitated and occasionally missing a wing. We have a dog, I'm sure it's not him and his presence keeps any cats away. I think the birds are maybe blackbirds or similar. We do occasionally get butcher birds and have some currawongs around. I know they both rob nests, but I would have thought that they would eat more than the head, and also the dead birds don't appear to be young.  I remember reading about currawongs hanging dead birds around their nests for the young to eat but mr google on my phone won't find that info for me now.

Does anyone know if the currawong thing is true? Any other ideas?

#2 xenabonjovi

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:47 AM

could b quals as that is exactly what they do. Kill birds in such a fashion and leave the body behind.

#3 !!!

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:54 AM

Do you have any small carnivorous mammals/marsupials living in your yard?

eta: besides your dog.

It doesn't sound like something another bird would do to me.

ZOMG that sentence was bad.

Edited by *Mangosteen, 24 October 2010 - 09:55 AM.

#4 BetteBoop

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:54 AM

I wouldn't rule puppy out as a suspect either. I know it doesn't seem possible but most dogs are instinctive hunters.

#5 Guest_Excentrique_*

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:55 AM

eww. i would like to know what left under my clothesline

-3 mice skins
-and what looked like a chicken neck.  sick.gif

#6 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 24 October 2010 - 09:58 AM

QUOTE (xenabonjovi @ 24/10/2010, 10:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
could b quals as that is exactly what they do. Kill birds in such a fashion and leave the body behind.

Thanks, just did a search though, and no not likely quolls, we are in Melbourne and from what I found they are in QLD.

#7 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:01 AM

QUOTE (BetteBoop @ 24/10/2010, 10:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wouldn't rule puppy out as a suspect either. I know it doesn't seem possible but most dogs are instinctive hunters.

I know it's not the dog. He's 11 years old and while I'm sure he would dream about bird catching, he's not capable of it.

Edited by Shell14, 24 October 2010 - 10:04 AM.

#8 Theophobic

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:07 AM

Neighbourhood cat/s.

#9 Kay1

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:10 AM

Cats don't eat the head. unsure.gif

#10 Kim

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:24 AM

My first thought is an owl, they will kill other birds.. as do hawks and eagles (just owls are more common in the burbs)

Perhaps you have one nesting near by and they are losing their prey mid flight into your yard, then not game to collect the rest because of your dog.

#11 Littlegreenfrog

Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:53 AM

I'm thinking cats..

My cats kill rabits and only eat their heads and leaves the body in my laundry...



#12 whydoibother

Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:01 AM

I know at school I used to see crows that would rip pigeon heads off on  the class room roof sick.gif
I know starlings would kill my mums birds in their cages pecked them through the bars sad.gif

I would say cat, or some other scavenger???

#13 Maple Leaf

Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:01 AM

Set up a vid camera?
No other ideas! With a dog in the yard, I don't see cats bothering with going in there to get their prey or leave the remains there.

#14 Siouxie

Posted 24 October 2010 - 11:58 AM

Do you have any raptor species in your area?  We do, and they decapitate any bird unlucky enough to cross flight paths with them sad.gif  I've seen a 28 parrot decapitated in flight by a small kestral.  Clean off.

#15 Erma Gerd

Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:37 PM

When I was a kid and kept an aviary full of budgies, we had rats get in and eat the heads off many roosting birds.

#16 Sweet like a lemon

Posted 24 October 2010 - 12:53 PM

I really think you should call the RSPCA or Wildlife Helpline.

It does not seem like a domesticated animal is doing it. But if they are it needs to be reported anyway.  
A bird is not likely to leave it's pray with a body intact as they go  for the soft areas first. Snakes will swallow the whole carcass. Dingos  and devils are obviously out, and I can't think of any other meat eating  mammal here. So actually I think it is quite suspicious and very unpleasant.

What's behind the property?

eta: mjk, that is so sad! Were they bush rats?

Edited by ForsakenTruth, 24 October 2010 - 12:55 PM.

#17 eleishas

Posted 24 October 2010 - 01:46 PM

Completely unhelpful but eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww sick.gif

#18 WittyKitty

Posted 24 October 2010 - 02:00 PM

Butcher Birds will rip the heads off caged birds. Maybe they do that to wild ones, too?

It's unlikely to be cats, IMHO, as when they present a headless body it's usually to their own household through their instinct to provide.

PP, the rabbit is gross but kitty is thinking of you  wink.gif

#19 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:30 PM

Well it seems we have a currawong nest up high in our neighbors tree hanging over our fence, so I'm pretty sure that they are the culprits. My dad says that they kill birds and hang them in forks of branches around their nest; none of the dead birds we have found have been particularly fresh, and there has been a lot of wind over the last month or so which may have dislodged them. I'll watch more closely now, and see if I can prove my theory!

#20 goldimouse

Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:35 PM

It couldn't be bored and cruel teenagers could it?

#21 HRH Countrymel

Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:44 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 24/10/2010, 11:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cats don't eat the head. unsure.gif

My old cat used to do just that - then he would lovingly present them to me - sometimes in a neat row next to my bed!! Ah.. the joy of standing on a headless corpse first thing in the morning in your bare feet!

OP I've seen a currawong/crow (I'm in Tas and we use different words for different birds than Victoria) decapitate a budgie through the bars of a cage.

#22 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:49 PM

QUOTE (Robbie @ 25/10/2010, 01:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It couldn't be bored and cruel teenagers could it?

I'll assume that you are not implying that my teens would do anything so barbaric a assume you mean some random teen that gained access to my backyard. No, there is no way that some random bored cruel teen could have gained access to my backyard to dispose of dead headless birds.

#23 Bkrsdzn+1

Posted 25 October 2010 - 01:04 PM

Ok, for all those who couldn't believe a bird would do it, I just rang the RSPCA and as soon as I mentioned that we had currawongs nesting nearby she was certain that they were our culprit, she said that they are very aggressive at this time if year and that decapitation is their method of choice.   Have to say, that even though I thought it was the case, I'm relieved to be told so by an expert!

Edited by Shell14, 25 October 2010 - 01:05 PM.

#24 KristyMum-

Posted 25 October 2010 - 01:12 PM

our dog used to catch birds... that came in to eat her biscuits and were otherwise slow/sick or just not on their toes.  but she never did that to them so...

eta looks like you've found an answer... good stuff Shell.

Edited by KristyMum-, 25 October 2010 - 01:13 PM.

#25 GWTW

Posted 25 October 2010 - 01:18 PM

What an intersting thread OP. Very educating. I was going to suggest reptiles but the currawongs seem likely suspects here.

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 24/10/2010, 10:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Cats don't eat the head. unsure.gif

Yeah they do!

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