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Buzzard Bait



Hello all,

Stanley Friesen wrote:
>As far as I know the few primary scavengers that exist never even bother to
try to take down live prey.  (Yeah, a vulture attacking something - uhuh,
sure).<

Well Stan, I must add to Dr. Holtz's report;
>Although I don't know if they do this in the wild, vultures DO pounce on
>and kill live rodents in captivity (this from people I've talked to who
>raise carnivorous birds).<

Nearly 3 years ago we talked about this on the list. I am an eye witness to
a case of turkey vultures not only attacking and killing a cottontail
rabbit, but doing so in what appeared to be a cooperative manner. Six or
seven buzzards circled a rabbit they had found in a freshly cut hay field,
forcing it back to the middle with every escape attempt. When angles forced
an individual bird to break off the chase another would pick up the
pursuit. This went on for several minutes until the poor rabbit tired, and
just stopped running. I don't know how well fed these birds were from one
rabbit, but they converged on the "kill" very quickly. This was not a case
of misidentification, or a flashback from the late 60's. This group of
buzzards killed a quick and agile prey species by manipulation and
perseverance. While I have no video tape to prove this event actually
happened, there was no such thing in '71, there were two other people that
watched this with me. So, I wouldn't be so sure a primary scavanger NEVER
kills.

Roger A. Stephenson