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Feeding Insectivores

Insectivore species include Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, Owls.

Danger... These birds have really good beaks, but it is their tremendously strong talons (feet) that you must be careful of. Be sure you know how to handle raptors before starting to feed one of these birds.

Also see:


Raptor's Natural Foods

These birds live on mice, rats, small birds, reptiles, large insects, rabbits and kangaroo meat. Generally these birds will hold the food in their talons and rip pieces off for themselves.

In order to survive in the wild, these birds must be in perfect condition. They must be able to find and catch their prey without having any impediments. It is important to have them feeding with their natural food and not to allow them to become tame before releasing them.

Birds of prey are rescued from time to time in a starving condition. This is often caused by a throat infection (Trichomoniasis – trikes- or canker) which is a yellowish cheesy growth in the mouth. Often it is too late to treat by the time we rescue them.

Rescued Birds

With new arrivals suffering stress and/or injury, it is quite likely that you will have to cut their food into smallish pieces and force feed them for a couple of days or so. To prepare their food you will need scissors or a sharp knife to chop mice, dead chicks or small birds up into about 4-5 pieces.

As you can see, this is not for your "every day" sort of person.

It is very important for the raptors to eat a complete range of food, including fur, feathers, bone and gut.

It is essential that you contact a raptor coordinator to work through a rehabilitation program for this type of bird.

How to Feed

Healthy raptors should have their daily food provided with NO human contact. Intensive care raptors should be fed their food whole IF they can manage, if not the food will need to be cut up into pieces [ before defrosting] and placed on a shallow/flat dish so that the raptor can reach it, depending on the raptor's ability to bend and stoop to retrieve food pieces. If hand feeding is necessary for any reason, the pieces may be fed to the raptor using tweezers and again there must be no human contact, in cases like this it is hard, so use a screen or a sheet or make a glove puppet to resemble an adult bird.

Amount to Feed

Each raptor must be assessed individually for its overall condition, muscle tone and body weight.

Normally 10% of body weight is fed per meal. Raptors recovering from severe trauma or injuries will have vastly different food needs. If you are not sure, contact your raptor coordinator.

 

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