Things seen in the Bird Division #11: 'Til death do us part

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Photo © Jeff Skrentny.

Sibling birds-of-prey often play-fight with their talons. It's practice for hunting, fighting, and passing prey to a mate. But the Red-tailed Hawks in the photos below are adults. They probably got their talons locked together in a territorial battle. Apparently they were unable to unlock them, causing both birds to perish. Maybe they should have played more as youngsters. "To the victor go the spoils," the saying goes. Unless there is no victor. 


Red-tailed Hawks' locked talons
Red-tailed Hawks that died with their talons locked together. They were prepared as skeletal specimens to be added to the museum's permanent research collection. Photo © Dave Willard.


Red-tailed Hawks' locked talons
The locked talons of two Red-tailed Hawks that died that way and were brought to the Field Museum to be added to the permanent research collection. Photo © Dave Willard.