Birds Snatching Domestic Animals, Pets Or Children

EnolaGaia

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Birds of prey taking (or losing) prey figure in a number of Fortean stories (e.g., thunderbirds taking children or large livestock; disappearing pets / livestock; mystery falls). We have a number of FTMB threads focused on particular incidents, but no single compendium for news items.

I'm therefore starting this thread as a collection place for stories in which birds of prey actually or allegedly carry off domestic animals (pets, livestock, etc.) - particularly domestic animals whose size most folks might assume is too large for a bird of prey to lift and carry.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's a story about an 8-pound dog snatched by an eagle in Pennsylvania. The dog was found alive circa 4 miles from the scene.

Snatched by hungry eagle, little dog lives to bark the tale
Felipe Rodriguez says he thought he was hallucinating when an eagle snatched his sister’s little white dog from her yard, flapped its massive wings and disappeared over the trees.

... Zoey the 8-pound bichon frise was gone, taken by a hungry raptor Tuesday afternoon not 50 feet from his sister’s house on the banks of the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, Rodriguez said. ...

Even more astonishing: Zoey would live to bark the tale.

More on that later. But first, let it be said that eagles are quite capable of taking a small dog or a cat.

“It has been documented before, but not that often,” said Laurie Goodrich, a biologist at nearby Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a ridgetop preserve that annually records tens of thousands of migrating hawks, eagles and falcons.

With food scarce and waterways freezing up, raptors are “looking a little more widely and taking advantage of whatever might be out there,” she said.

Rodriguez said he was by himself at his sister’s home in Bowmanstown, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) north of Philadelphia, and Zoey was playing in the fenced yard when he heard a loud screech, hurried to the door and looked out.

“The bird was holding onto the dog. There was flapping of wings and then it was gone,” said Rodriguez ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/cc6c3dc0ab7c475b...ngry-eagle,-little-dog-lives-to-bark-the-tale
 

EnolaGaia

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This 2008 article from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game generally disputes the idea of eagles attacking, much less carrying off, pets. However, this article is focused on the bald eagles native to the department's jurisdiction.

Eagle Flight and Other Myths; Eagles Don’t Eat Children or Pets

Every few years a story makes the rounds about a bald eagle carrying off a dog or trying to snatch someone’s cat. Biologists who study birds of prey and folks who live around eagles have seen plenty snatching and carrying – as well as swooping and swimming - and they offered insights into what eagles really can and cannot do. ...
SOURCE: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=343
 
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MetroGnome

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When I was a kid we had a little bantam hen that had a clutch of chicks. A falcon once tried to grab one. She kicked the shit out of it and it flew off empty-handed. :)

The neighbors were pretty paranoid about birds of prey and believed that any eagle would kill their lambs, so they tended to shoot at anything feathered larger than a pigeon or thereabouts.

There's no doubt that a large eagle is perfectly capable of killing some pets and other domestic animals, but on the whole the danger is exaggerated, and what's more, they kill more rodents, rabbits, hyraxes etc., thus saving the farmer some grazing land.
 

GerdaWordyer

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My MIL in Colorado had an owl try to carry off one of her chihuahuas. She and her Hub caused a ruckus so the little guy was dropped with little more than talon scratches.
 

George_millett

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My MIL in Colorado had an owl try to carry off one of her chihuahuas. She and her Hub caused a ruckus so the little guy was dropped with little more than talon scratches.
Have to admit I am surprised the Chihuahuas came off so well. They don't seem to be that robust and Owls aren't exactly that graceful when they come into land on something.

Having flown a couple from the fist the best I could describe the landing is a crash with a vague semblance of grace.
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's another incident ... Apparently the owl couldn't hang onto the puppy ...
Puppy recovering after being carried off by an owl
An Arizona puppy is recovering after being carried away by an owl and apparently dropped on a local golf course.

Bonnie Ziegler, who is fostering the puppy, named Latte, and her three siblings for Foothills Animal Rescue, said the canine vanished during a bathroom break in her yard.

"I didn't hear a sound and the other puppies didn't bark. It was as if she just vanished," Ziegler told KPHO/KTVK. "We immediately started searching and soon our neighbors joined in. We posted a notice on the Nextdoor [app] in the hopes someone might find her."

Latte turned up about 12 hours later at the Troon Country Club, suffering from dehydration and puncture wounds.

Veterinarians said the wounds answered the mystery of the puppy's disappearance -- she had been grabbed and carried off by an owl.

Latte is recovering from her injuries and is expected to be in foster care for a few more weeks before going up for adoption.
SOURCE: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2019/0...er-being-carried-off-by-an-owl/6761554214932/
 

Eponastill

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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/22/seagull-carries-away-dog-from-garden-devon
She told the Devon Live website: “My partner was in the garden putting the washing out at the time and suddenly he saw it swoop down. It carried Gizmo a fair way as we couldn’t see him any more. I have no idea if he was dropped or where he is now.”

I don't believe it. Have you seen a seagull's feet? It's not a bloody eagle with talons is it. I know they've got big beaks and I've been on the receiving end of their smash and grab raids on chips and ice-cream cones. But in both those cases they didn't fly off with the food, they just knocked it out of my hand and started eating it on the floor. Surely they couldn't lift a chihuahua. My cynic alert is flashing.
 

Tribble

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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/22/seagull-carries-away-dog-from-garden-devon
She told the Devon Live website: “My partner was in the garden putting the washing out at the time and suddenly he saw it swoop down. It carried Gizmo a fair way as we couldn’t see him any more. I have no idea if he was dropped or where he is now.”

I don't believe it. Have you seen a seagull's feet? It's not a bloody eagle with talons is it. I know they've got big beaks and I've been on the receiving end of their smash and grab raids on chips and ice-cream cones. But in both those cases they didn't fly off with the food, they just knocked it out of my hand and started eating it on the floor. Surely they couldn't lift a chihuahua. My cynic alert is flashing.
Others have noticed this, yes. They're just not strong enough, or equipped in the claw department, to lift something even puppy-sized. Some cynical folk even reckon the dog escaped and they're blaming the gull. Unless it was actually an eagle and the witness isn't very good at basic bird identification.
 

Ladyloafer

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although... start at around 2.40


smaller than even a tiny chihuahua its true, but there are also bigger gulls out there.

i can't imagine a seagull would've got far with a dog though.

(on the video, if you can't handle or understand the dreary narration, at one point he says 'this gull usually takes one pigeon a day', and ends with 'still theres an endless supply of pigeons.')
 

PeteS

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I doubt whether any gull is capable of carrying anything with its feet. I've witnessed them carrying food in their beaks obviously but the structure of their feet would seem to preclude carting dogs away.
 

Eponastill

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although... start at around 2.40
That was quite gruesome. But all the same, there was no flying off with anything as far as I saw (fair enough I got bored about 10 minutes in). The rotten (although resourceful) gull was drowning the pigeons and then eating them in the water, or picking bits of dead corpses on the shore. There was an altercation in the air at one point, but the pigeon was already in the air and the gull was trying to take it out, not fly off with it. I've seen a gull choke down a chick, but it just strolled over to the nest to eat it, it didn't kidnap it first.

So I still doubt it. Birds are very light, they have hollow bones pretty much. They'd have to be enormous (like a golden eagle) to pick anything much up and make off with it.

That woman has got three more chihuahuas anyway. I expect the tiny thing just wriggled away under the gate to freedom. Probably fed up of wearing some sort of glittery outfit, like the one I saw on a walk only yesterday.

[Ban this poster immediately for her insensitivity!]
 

Ladyloafer

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yeah is was pretty grim. even the crows didn't want to have anything to do with that gull.

i'm thinking maybe a large gull could pick up a small dog without much resistance if it grabbed it the right way- those pigeons had wings flapping in the gulls face- but i doubt it would get far. as you say, birds are light. couple metres tops.
 

LordRsmacker

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That woman has got three more chihuahuas anyway. I expect the tiny thing just wriggled away under the gate to freedom. Probably fed up of wearing some sort of glittery outfit, like the one I saw on a walk only yesterday.

[Ban this poster immediately for her insensitivity!]
You're the kind of sicko who laughs at this sort of thing aren't you?

Yep, me too.
 

RaM

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It was mentioned on Good Morning today about the dog being taken.
 

Monstrosa

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The article doesn't mention the gull using its feet.
 

RaM

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I don't doubt a greater black back or maybe a big herring gull could lift a chihuahua
but am not sure it could get a good enough hold on it
I and the wife saw a gull lift a cat to a hell of a height though it was the cat that was
hanging on the gulls leg the gull was only trying to get away.
 
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Eponastill

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The article doesn't mention the gull using its feet.
So you think we should consider the other option, that it could pick up a dog in its beak? Have you seen the size of a seagull's beak - they're not designed for gripping onto things and flying away with them, surely they're more for scavenging, like in that video - pecking and ripping. One wriggle and the dog would be on the floor (If it could even get such a weight off the floor - random googling suggests a herring gull weighs 1 to 1.5kg and a chihuahua 1.5 to 3kg).

Seagulls have got a bad rep in this country. I admit they can be a bit naughty. They're pretty bloody clever and they have a big vocabulary (they woke me up enough at 4am talking to eat other on the roofs). But also see "Foxes came into my house and chewed on my baby" and "Let's poison kites because they eat all my lambs". Urban myth is my guess. Until I see a video.
 
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EnolaGaia

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I doubt whether any gull is capable of carrying anything with its feet. I've witnessed them carrying food in their beaks obviously but the structure of their feet would seem to preclude carting dogs away.
Could the dog have been wearing a collar in which the gull's foot / feet got entangled?
 

Eponastill

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Are you wearing your "I want to believe" t-shirt today, Enola?

I'm sure a chihuahua would have been wearing its sparkly collar. So maybe it wasn't a seagull but a crow or magpie trying to collect shiny things. An albino one of course, so it could be easily confused with a gull.
 

EnolaGaia

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So you think we should consider the other option, that it could pick up a dog in its beak? ...
This Live Science item specifically states the gull picked up the chihuahua with its beak ...
Chihuahua Was Abducted by a Seagull. It Could Happen, Expert Says.

... While there are no photos or video documenting the attack, large gulls have been known to ambush small mammals — including pet dogs — even flying with them for short distances, an avian expert told Live Science. ...

But while such an attack is feasible, "they are very rare," said Viola Ross-Smith, a science communicator with the British Trust for Ornithology, who earned her doctoral degree while researching large gulls.

"Like this time, the reports usually do not come with photographic evidence and are covered quite sensationally in the media, so it's hard to know exactly what happened," Ross-Smith told Live Science in an email.

On July 21 in Devon at 12:30 p.m. local time, the gull purportedly struck quickly and without warning, the dog's owner, Becca Hill, told Devon Live. Her chihuahua — a brown-and-white 4-year-old male named Gizmo — was safe in the garden, while Hill's partner hung out the washing to dry nearby. Suddenly, a gull swooped down and scooped up the tiny pup with its beak. And just like that, Gizmo was gone. ...

"I have no idea if he was dropped or where he is now," Hill said.
SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/66006-gull-abducts-chihuahua.html
 

PeteS

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This Live Science item specifically states the gull picked up the chihuahua with its beak ...

SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/66006-gull-abducts-chihuahua.html
Interesting- whilst they have large beaks I wouldn't have thought that their jaw or neck muscles would have the strength for the job but clearly I'm wrong. I'll have to pay more attention when our little cat and my pet seagull are in the garden together, (probably eyeing each other up for their next meal apparently)
 

RaM

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We saw a gull yesterday it was being harried by 2 other gull intent on stealing it's dinner
a small animal, bigger than the usual mouse, a rat or as the wife thought a mole, it had no
problem carrying it.
 

Eponastill

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Interesting- whilst they have large beaks I wouldn't have thought that their jaw or neck muscles would have the strength for the job but clearly I'm wrong.
I don't think you have to be wrong. Just because it said in 'Devon Live' that it was picked up with its beak, doesn't mean it actually was - that isn't a quote from the owner. Did the owner even see it happen? It was her husband outside with the dog. (I do hope there wasn't some sort of unfortunate dog incident like the Sofa Episode in the Sopranos which the husband had to cover up... I'm conspiracy brewing, aren't I).
Btw google says rats are 500g tops and moles only about 125g. So much much lighter than a dog. Maybe they just look bigger when going over your head with little to judge the scale against. Or maybe a bird (lighter but looks bigger being feathery).

I sound rather wedded to my theory. But as Viola from the BTO says, it must be super rare even if it is feasible. In this day and age of mobile phone cameras, if it were a Thing, it would have been videoed by now?
 

escargot

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Only the owner's partner saw the alleged abduction. I reckon someone left the gate open and Gizmo did one, possibly coming to a sticky end under a passing vehicle, and the gull malarky is a cover story. Becca and her other half need to have a little chat.
 

Eponastill

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Pigeon chick was on the menu in Edinburgh.
Well that's just gulls being gulls for you, nothing new. And what would have happened to that chick otherwise? (she said heartlessly but realistically). It was toast if it had fallen out of the nest - if it hadn't been a gull it'd have been a dog or a fox or a cat or a small child with a big boot. Note that it didn't get picked up and flown away with, just viciously pecked to death on the ground. Nature eh. Nasty to witness. But just Mr/Ms Seagull getting their dinner.
 

Tribble

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Well that's just gulls being gulls for you, nothing new. And what would have happened to that chick otherwise? (she said heartlessly but realistically). It was toast if it had fallen out of the nest - if it hadn't been a gull it'd have been a dog or a fox or a cat or a small child with a big boot. Note that it didn't get picked up and flown away with, just viciously pecked to death on the ground. Nature eh. Nasty to witness. But just Mr/Ms Seagull getting their dinner.
Very much so. But it might at least have have the decency to wait until there weren't any squeamish humans around!
 
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