The “Snatch and Grab” Collection Technique
Today was more of the same for our pair. In the hour and a half that I was there this morning, they brought a pigeon and, apparently, a blue jay to the nest. Hercules caught the blue jay and took it to the Monadnock roof to eat a bit before taking the rest to the babies.
I call this technique of prey identification “The Snatch and Grab”. Hercules began her insane speed-plucking routine on the Monadnock and I walked over to stand on the garage roof corner beneath her. The wind blew in nicely from the west causing the feathers to rain down on me. I snatched them from the air as they did and stuffed them into a baggie. Later, John and Dave identified the feathers as Blue Jay.
While this technique doesn’t allow me to take actual bird heads, wings, bodies, etc… in for identification, the brilliant staff in the bird division usually has no trouble identifying a bird from one, solitary feather. Amazing.
Now, that I am becoming familiar with the species these falcons seem to bring in with regularity, I, too, can make some good guesses from feathers. But, I’m nowhere near, nor probably ever will be, the skill level of Dave Willard, Mary Hennen, John Bates, et al. It’s really, really fun to learn, though, and I’m better than I was a month ago.