September 12, 2016

New Blog Post: Kelp Maggots

Johnny Rooks turn to maggots for nutrition.

Caracaras digging for maggots in beached kelp

In the most recent blog post on Hawk Mountain's The Vulture Chronicles, Dr. Keith Bildstein, Director of Conservation Science, discusses his team's new and interesting findings from their striated caracara research.

The raptors have been digging in beached kelp on the shorelines of the Falkland Islands in search of maggots to consume as their source of nutrition. In February of this year, the team began to study this feeding behavior in detail using a protocol that allows them to quantify the rate at which individual caracaras secure maggots. Insect eating is not unknown in raptors; however, digging in the ground for insects is relatively uncommon among birds of prey, making this behavior of the johnny rooks incredibly intriguing. 

The team plans to continue this study when they return to the Falkland Islands in early 2017. 

Visit the blog post now to read more details from Dr. Bildstein on the behavior and studies.