1. It was younger than I thoughtWhen I first blogged about it, I said "it looks like a young female, maybe 18 months old." Because all roe deer are almost always born in May/June, an animal that died in December would always be x years and six months old - so either six months, 18 months, 30 months, 42 months, and so on.
I guessed this because it seemed younger than a full adult, but still larger than a juvenile, but I was wrong. Teeth are the best guide to aging:
2. The pine marten wasn't interested
I secretly hoped that if I ever found a fresh body like this, it would attract pine marten so they could be filmed - especially after filming pine marten almost non-stop for the year before !
But the local pine marten was not interested in the slightest by the roe body, even though it was on its route through the wood.. This is really weird because this could have been a feast to them because they are carnivorous !
3. Neither was the fox really !
The fox did some important work. It opened up the carcass (after a month !), dragged the body out into the open, allowing the others to feed on the body.
But after that, it hardly came back, even though I think it was responsible for the next bit:
4. Dead bodies can disappearAlso: trail cameras sometimes forget to work.
5. This was mainly the buzzards' show
Buzzards are nervous feeders. They land by the body and spend a few minutes making sure no-one else is about before landing. When feeding, they keep looking all around them .
The buzzard also spent a lot of time pulling out the fur. Now I know that if I see scattered fur around a body that it is a sign of raptor predation:
6. Three months on, the meat was still edible
Warning: next video is the grossest !
Even though the buzzard was feeding almost every day, three months after death and the buzzard was still feeding on the torso of the deer. I have seen roe deer that die in the summer be skeletonised within a few weeks, but this deer took much longer, mainly because of the winter temperatures.
In the video above, the buzzard pulls out an organ from the body. I thought originally it was the heart, but now I think it may be the liver or a part of the lungs.
7. Claws can do a lot of damage
It did the same with the rib cage as well, which broke some of the ribs close to the spine. Whenever I have found bodies with broken ribs before I have assumed that it was done by a fox. Now I know it could have also been done by a buzzard.
8. Robins: nature's hidden carnivores
9. Magpies are great to watch
Literally the first thing the magpie did when it first found the body was to peck the eyes - corvids are well known for this. They would feed on the meat, even though they don't have a hooked beak to tear open a body, which is why you often see them feeding on roadkill which is already opened up. The two above scrapped over feeding above, but in the video below, it shows the magpies sitting side by side as they ate, which surprised me because I always thought that magpies were really territorial. I think the incomer stretches its neck up to show the other one it is bigger, and after that they are fine together:
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