Have You Seen Bird Heads on the Sidewalk In Downtown Jackson, Michigan Too?
Yes you read that headline correctly. The heads of decapitated birds, mostly pigeons, can be found scattered throughout Jackson, Michigan's downtown district. If you're the kind of person who wants proof, take a walk around the Jackson County Tower Building where you are bound to find one.
Living rent free high atop the county seat are a pair of Peregrine Falcons. You can often see them flying throughout the county and more often in the skies of the downtown. These birds even have their own live cam, which is turned on during 'hatching' season.
Peregrine Falcons Sometimes Take Their Meals To-Go
These birds are the fastest members of the animal kingdom, reaching 240 mph. How? They climb to high altitudes, look for prey below them, tuck their wings in and dive. It's one of natures most magnificent sights, unless you're the prey:
Thanks to Animal Wire on YouTube for the video:
Sheldon Nicolle is an enthusiast of the sport who came up with a nifty trick to give us all a bird's eye view of the action. He has fastened a small light weight camera to the back of his peregrine falcon, Dora. On the hunt, we see Dora successfully kill a duck.
As you can see (or see once they slow it down) peregrine falcons are deadly hunters.
Why Are There Bird Heads on the Ground In Downtown, Jackson?
In Kate Davis' book, Falcons of North America, she says:
...their jaw muscles are so strong that the combination of these muscles and the sharp tomial tooth structure on the beak makes it possible for a peregrine or gyrfalcon to decapitate a bird in seconds, even in flight.
Peregrine falcons will decapitate a live bird in flight, in seconds, in mid-air. They hold only the body and the head falls to the ground, or sidewalk. From there they land somewhere, remove the feathers and wings, and then it's time to eat.
A Welcome Predator
These birds of prey keep the pigeon population down in every area they populate, plus they are beautiful creatures to observe from a distance. If you're lucky, or early enough, you may see one of these peregrines in a tree or even on the ground devouring their latest catch on the sidewalks of downtown.
Where the bird heads (and feet, they rip those off mid-air at time too) disappear to in downtown Jackson, Michigan is a question I'm not ready to have answered.