Post #56 of 100 Days of Blogging
When it comes to birds eating other birds, hawks, falcons or owls are usually the birds that come to mind as typical predators. If you have a backyard feeder, chances are that a Hawk or two (or more!) has even swooped in and eaten one of your “regulars”. However, there are lots of other birds, such as the following 10, that add other birds to the list of food they won’t turn their bill up at.
#1. Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)
With a nickname like the “butcher bird” for its habit of impaling its catch on spiky plant matter or barbed wire fences, probably not a big surprise! It eats mammals, insects and small birds.
#2. Great Black backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Preys opportunistically on on a range of other birds like migrating passerines and colonial nesters. Some of its”victims” include the Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Roseate Tern, Manx Shearwater, and Horned Grebe. Adult waterfowl are often attacked and killed when newly banded and released. Some gull pairs are specialist predators on conspecific chicks or Herring Gull chicks.
#3. Great Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Eats a wide array of animals including fish, insects, mammals, amphibians, birds and crustaceans. Read more about the Great Blue Heron in this Fishy Friday post.
#2. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Adults are opportunistic foragers with a varied diet of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine animals. Fledglings known to practice cannibalism, feeding on smaller nestlings fallen to the ground or already dead. Adults, on occasion, observed to eat chicks in adjacent nests. Here’s another post about herons.
#3. Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)
Eats seeds, nuts, corn, berries, fruits and sometimes raids bird nests to eat eggs and nestlings; they also eat mice and occasionally adult birds.
#6. Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Mainly eats insects, spiders and other arthropods. Occasionally eats lizards, nestling birds, even minnows.
#7. Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Sometimes raids nests for eggs and nestlings, and sometimes pick up dead or dying adult birds.
#8. Gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis)
They eat arthropods, berries, carrion, fungi and commonly takes eggs and nestlings. Has been shown to be a major arboreal nest predator in boreal forests. Here is a previous post about the Gray jay.
#9. American Crow (Corvus albus)
A frequent nest predator, the American Crow eats the eggs and nestlings of many species including sparrows, robins, jays, terns, loons, and eiders. Also eats carrion and garbage.
#10. American Raven (Corvus corax)
Commonly associated with carrion, but not limited to scavenging. A generalist omnivore that eats live meat, eggs, insects, grains and fruit. Will eat small animals from the size of mice and baby tortoises up to adult Rock Pigeons and nestling Great Blue Herons.