dead sparrow with brain missing – The answer?

Last week Loraine ask me about dead sparrows with brains missing.  I did answer her personally.  Now I’m putting some details on Bird Table News –

First here is the article –

I did not have a clue what could have happened to these birds so I asked for some advice.

 I  have had 3 people get in touch. Here they are –
1. Hi Trisha. This is an interesting question.

Cats or any predatory mammal would normally carry their prey away from the site of capture or kill so as not to draw too much attention to themselves. I doubt very much it is a cat. They normally asphyxiate or shake their victims to death and invariably bite their heads off.

It could be the work of a stoat or weasel. These animals will bite into the skulls of prey to kill them off. It’s the way they dispatch of rabbits or rats.

Sparrowhawks would not peck their victims to death. Their bills are not designed for such a function.
Your killer if it was a bird, could be a magpie or other corvid. I observed recently a magpie coming to my bird feeder and helping itself to a young house sparrow. It grabbed the unfortunate sparrow then proceeded to batter it with its bill,oblivious to the frantic attentions of adult sparrows and other birds which had gathered to see the deadly fracas.
I hope this sheds some light on your inquiry –  from Monahawk

2. the brain has a lot of good stuff in it compared to some other bits of a body.

 A few animals will eat that first (or only) if there is enough other food around. Monahawk’s thoughts all seem like reasonable suggestions.  from  Isurus

3. A number of years ago I had a male Sparrowhawk which on catching its prey would crunch the skull and just eat the brain and leave the rest of it’s prey, the sound of it doing it was terrible.
So sparrowhawk,  stoat, weasel, crow, rook or any corvid. Seems like a bird is the most likely answer.
Loraine, Have you found anything out?

reading the answers I feel it could be a sparrowhawk. I think once they find a food supply they stay in the area – this is only a guess.

I hope it hasn’t happened again

2 thoughts on “dead sparrow with brain missing – The answer?

  1. Lauren Sheive

    Thank you, I do know there is a Marsh hawk around, but I was really perplexed how 3 birds could have gotten killed at one feeder with no feathers knocked lose. A Sparrow hawk seems the likely assulter. 2 more birds again this am…just the brains missing. I will have to stop feeding the birds for awhile. any guesses as to how long I should stop for?

  2. Trish Post author

    It is strange 3 birds getting killed at one feeder.
    Just the brains missing?!
    I cannot guess how long you should stop for. It is so strange. Will put it on Bird Table News

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