23 Jun 2017

Nature in tooth and claw

Or in this case - beak!
Ravens and gulls are scavengers and will eat carrion. They don't kill livestock unless its severely disabled and probably dying anyway. We've had sheep in the fields behind and in front of the house and recently one animal seemed to want to commit bovid suicide by drowning itself in the pond. Three times in one day it got in and was rescued and eventually drowned overnight. The Ravens were soon on the scene with three birds feasting. Not a pretty sight. The farmer wasn't sure of the issue as he'd checked the animal for maggots. Gruesome, but a fact of life for sheep, where the rear end becomes dirty before they're sheared and can result in a maggot infestation. They enter the water for relief from the maggots.

It reminded me of a similar occasion where a sheep succumbed during the winter - this time it was a pair of Greater black-backed Gulls that made the first incision and the Ravens followed.

Below are Ravens feeding on the latest casualty.

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