Wing Complex

Oxyura jamaicensisIn addition to an entire dead Common Loon on the rocks of the jetty pier at Bush Terminal Park, there was this wing. I looked at it and was at a loss for what it might be. It didn’t hit any of the song bird possibilities, and this time of year those are much reduced. But luckily AMNH’s Paul Sweet was there.Oxyura jamaicensisHe called it as female Ruddy Duck. (I hadn’t even thought of the ducks.) It may very well have been killed by a Peregrine. In devouring the breast meat of their prey, these falcons leave the wings like parenthetical marks around the corpse. (As you know if you eat chicken, birds are most meaty on the breast. The drumsticks are scant, although this looks well stripped.)

Ruddy Ducks are wee things. The original regional Peregrine lineage, now extirpated, were also known as Duck Hawks and seem to have run larger than the birds we see now, which are of mixed heritage from the breeding and hacking program set up after the scourge of DDT.

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