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Melissa Mayntz

Too Full to Fly

By January 18, 2013

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Everyone has had that feeling of being unable to move after a big meal, and a juvenile red-tailed hawk in California had that same reaction after too big a meal recently. According to the Daily Mail, the raptor caught an American coot - a plump, tempting morsel - and after feeding, was so stuffed that it fell onto its back, unable to move. A photographer noticed the bird and called authorities, and the bird was taken into care as it digested, with plans to release it later in the same area.

Bird digestion is different than humans, and raptors often quickly fill their crop after a successful kill so they can more slowly digest the food over a longer period of time. But too full is too full, and even birds might need a nap after a hefty meal!

American Coots
Photo Melissa Mayntz


January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am
(1) cathartes says:

This happens quite often. We get calls frequently about a hawk just standing on the ground. We ask the usual questions (is a wing drooping, is the bird leaning to the side, is it standing). If the bird seems alert, we tell the caller to check back on the bird in a couple of hours. Quite often they eat a large meal and then can’t take off. Sure enough, 9 times out of 10, the bird is up and perching nearby watching for their next meal.

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