Question for C3d

annedickinsonJune 8, 2009

Hi. This is a bit gruesome, but you are the only person I can think of that might know the answer.

About a week ago I found 4 baby birds (may have been bluejays)... one had more feathers than the other 3 by just a little bit and it looked like they were of a blueish tint.

They were all dead, within 2" of each other. The gruesome part is that 3 of them were missing their heads. One had the head but it was mostly decapitated.

Other than that, there was nothing wrong with the bodies at all. No sign of damage as if something had pecked at and/or eaten it.

What could have done this? The only thing I could think of was a cowbird chick, but I thought they pushed the other chicks out at a much earlier age. Would it have bitten the heads off?

Any ideas?


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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

I doubt it was a cowbird chick. Grackles are the most likely culprit but crows and bluejays will also decapitate young birds.

Nature is not always nice :^(

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:45PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

I agree with Jeanner. It was probably grackles. They will peck the heads of sparrows, finches and others and eat the brains. :-(Â Apparently it is something they need to do to survive themselves. Crows and BJs would probably eat the whole chick.

What a way to make a living, ehh?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Ah, ha!!! Grackles.. that makes sense. I thought they were just after the eggs, but the bird brains makes sense. There are a lot of Grackles and they invade birds' nests.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:46PM
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I have been loving Grackles for a long time and had no idea they did such a gruesome thing. Ugh!

BTW- Here is an interesting and gross tidbit on Grackles. They will clean their nests and fly over my pond dropping nest waste in the pond. They also will set their dead baby birds on the rocks that line the perimeter of the pond. Last year, a day after a bad rainstorm I found 4 dead baby birds placed in various places on the pond rocks. It was like a mini horror story as I discovered dead bird, after dead bird. Shudders!!!!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:28PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Ewwww! Dead baby birds lined up like trophies? Ewwww!

I've noticed if the spring is especially rainy, there is less nest raiding by the Grackles and Blue Jays ... good for those who would be raided ... bad for those who raid.The Grackle and Blue Jay chicks have an increased rate of a nutritional deficiency resulting in Curled Toe Paralysis because of a B vitamin deficiency. It is reversable with supplementation but gotta find the chicks and feed them the supplement.

That's how / why I got Bub, the Grackle and Daisy, the BJ.

Nature has her way to keep things in check although we humans may not like it. :-(

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:53AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

... that's also how we got a Crow chick, Marco. :-)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:54AM
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We also have grackles who fly over the Pool (not the pond) and deposit their nest cleanings... yuk!!!! I have watched them swoop low and drop the offending bundle.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 4:19PM
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