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Thread: Magpie and crow feathers wanted

  1. #1

    Magpie and crow feathers wanted

    I'm doing some research into the diet of magpies and carrion crows in conjunction with GWCT. I know that lots of folk will be trapping and shooting them at this time of year. I'd be really grateful if you could send me 2/3 feathers pulled out of a dead crow or magpie's wing - the bigger the feather the better. I can then run an analysis of the stable isotope ratio in the feathers or better still of any blood in the feather shaft and get an idea of their diet level, looking to see what their level of predation on nestlings and eggs may be.

    It is helpful to know the date that the bird was killed and a postcode for the area or more precise details if you are willing to supply them.

    I'm happy to send you stamped addressed envelopes to post feathers to me.

    Any questions or comments, do drop me a PM.

    Thanks for your help with this and please do circulate the request.

  2. #2
    I'm not shooting at the moment due to exam period but if i do get a chance i will of course try.

    Which stable isotopes are you looking at? Strontium? There is similar testing in forensics for origin and recent habitat of an individual so this does interest me greatly. If possible you could you make a copy of the final report available as i would be very interested to read it.

    Best of luck, please help out fellow academics chaps.


  3. #3
    Thanks Scooby - looking at C/N ratios. This can indicate origin, but only on large scales, but it is pretty good at suggesting trophic level or at least contribution of level. If I can chart change over the length of the feather and in the blood, I can estimate dietary changes over the year.

  4. #4
    Wow that's going to be a difficult bit of research.
    how are you going to account for seasonal variation in food source through the longitude and latitude of the various sample points?
    I'll be walloping a few in the coming weeks but they'll predominantly come from various golf courses on which the corvids tend to feed predominately on leather jackets and worms on the practice grounds or through divot turning.
    send your address for the samples and I'll get some over even if they may skew the data.
    Below is a link to my website.
    Quad sticks

  5. #5
    Much appreciated Limulus. As you say, it's not a simple study, but with a good sample size across areas and time, I should be able to extract some general patterns of change. For example, birds feeding on worms and leatherjackets will have a different SI signature to those feeding on a high proportion of nestlings. I'll pm you my address.

  6. #6
    I've got a Jay in the freezer?

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