Below are photos of the skull, leg bones, and talons of a Red-shouldered Hawk. A friend found the dead bird several weeks ago. We went back to the site last week, finding bones and feathers. We were able to identify the bird by its tail feathers. Insects had done most of the flesh removal. Broken bones indicated finishing touches by a predator or two.
The skull, marked with tatters of skin and a few small feathers, is intact but for the left eye socket. The size of the socket mirrors the size of the eye, the size an indication of the importance and acuity of a raptor’s vision. Raptors see detail about 10 times as well as we do. A few toe bones and talons remained attached to leg and ankle bones.
The coin is a quarter. The skull is 3.5 inches long from back to the end of the bill.
It’s illegal to possess any part of a raptor without a federal permit. I brought paper to the site to provide background for the photos.