Nestling predation?

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NYSDEC LIP's picture
Nestling predation?

Good afternoon - Last Friday 7/11/2019, while checking and cleaning nest boxes in central NY, we encountered a nest box with 3 live ~2week old nestlings, and one dead partially consumed nestling.  The head, breast, sternum and all of the organs were missing.  There was some blood in the body cavity, but was not coagulated.  Our initial thought was predation by another raptor?  Has anyone encountered this sort of scenario?  I plan on uploading an image of the inside of the box soon.


Best and thank you!


Bill Hoffman

NYSDEC LIP's picture

Here's an image to accompany my inquiry.

Nu-Sun Cinema
Nu-Sun Cinema's picture

Hi, We have been doing studies and a HD LIVE STREAM for several years. We have had no preditor situations at all. But here is a situation that may be of interest to you.

Siblicide (which is the killing of an infant individual by its close relatives (full or half siblings). It may occur directly between siblings or be mediated by the parents. Siblicide is advantageous for the surviving offspring because they have now eliminated most or all of their competition. It is also somewhat advantageous for the parents because the surviving offspring most likely have the strongest genes, and so, will pass these genes onto their offspring later in life, creating a strong line of genetics.)

More general information on our web site, click link to our KESTREL KORNER PAGE

Hope this helps, Nu-Sun Cinema, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

timothy lippert
timothy lippert's picture

I have alot of experience with pigs, not sure if this translates to birds. Momma pig will immediately consume a piglet that is injured or squashed. She is cleaning the nest, so the dead or dying piglet doesn't rot and contaminate the rest of the brood. IMHO.

CalvertKestrels's picture

Very well good be siblicide.  We have seen that with Barn Owls.  Bill are you all attempting to catch and band adults where you are?  I've been banding wintering kestrels in MD and hope someone monitoring nestboxes north of me catches one of my birds.