A couple of days ago, Nelson resident, Marnie Lehr, took a wonderful picture of a Northern Pygmy Owl eating a robin. The owl ate the robin’s head first.
Below that is a picture I took last August of an Osprey eating a sucker. Similarly, it ate the fish’s head first.
What is the appeal of the head to so many birds? It doesn’t strike me as one of the most tasty bits.
Dick Cannings responds: “I don’t know exactly why, but hawks and owls often eat the head of their prey first. Often, when a male hawk or owl is provisioning a female and/or a family of nestlings, he’ll eat the head (of the bird or mouse) himself and give the rest to the others. Maybe it’s just to make sure the prey item won’t get up and run away?”
The simple question posed above (why do so many birds eat the head of their prey first?) has produced quite a trail of comments and insights from those who held some of the puzzle pieces. Read the comments, below, to follow the trail. It leads to Stan Wallens explanation and remark that (for a bird) eating brains is equivalent to a human eating: “cheesecake, followed by an entire box of sugar donuts.”
Marnie Lehr’s picture of a Northern Pygmy Owl eating the head of a robin first.
My picture of an Osprey eating the head of a longnose sucker first.
Marnie Lehr’s picture is used with permission.