Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the foot and talons.

What this bird is, and how this bird died, I do not know. It was lying high up on the shore on the strandline among the usual debris, both natural and man-made. But it was magnificent despite being sad! Such lovely feathers. Such incredible talons. What a glorious bird of prey it must have been – soaring high above the cliffs. Perhaps someone reading this will help me out with its identification? I have lots of other photographs of it that might be useful.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the underside of the wing.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach - the head.

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach

Dead bird of prey washed up on the beach 

Revised version of a post from 21 March 2009
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14 Replies to “Sad strandline bird at Oxwich”

  1. Hi Jessica, I’ve been reading your blog for a little while, but never commented before. I’m pretty certain the bird is a kestrel, a common bird of prey on Gower.

    Great blog!


  2. Hi, Siani
    Thanks for the identification and the compliment on the blog.
    I have just had a quick look at your own Gower blog – very different and most entertaining! I laughed out loud at your account of the family that spoiled your video attempt. I’ll definitely visit your site again.
    There must be a whole lot of Gower fanatics like us.


  3. Decaying organisms have their own beauty.
    And seeing these claws one can really imagine that birds developed from teropod dinosaurs.


  4. Yes, all birds are reminders of their dinosaur past – this one particularly with those sharp talons – like a Velociraptor maybe?

    Decaying organisms are all part of the big picture on the seashore. I’ve photographed dead birds, fish, dolphins, porpoises, seals, not to mention all the invertebrate creatures like starfish, jellyfish and marine molluscs. I hesitate to put them on the blog – many people just want to see pretty pictures – but the fact of death and the process of decay are subjects of genuine interest and source of information for interpretation in both palaeontology and archaeology.


  5. There is nothing wrong in posting such pictures. Death is part of nature, and then other living organisms (insects, bacteria, fungi) come in. And decay can also create beauty. While the original order is going away, the dead body enters a zone of mixed order and disorder that can lead to very beautiful shapes.


  6. I am encouraged by your response although not all decay is “beautiful” in the accepted sense of the word. I will post more of my pictures in the future – as you say, death is part of nature.


  7. Thanks for the input, RH, but I think this bird was much bigger than a kestrel – that’s about the only bird of prey I am familiar with. This was half that size again.


  8. You could be right. I keep meaning to ask the eminent ornithologist Jonathan Elphick for help with the identification of this and many other dead birds I have found on the strand line – I will get round to doing it soon, it’s just that he is so busy all the time with one publication after another and I have not liked to bother him or show my ignorance!


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