A friend of mine disturbed a bird of prey (I think it was a kestrel or sparrow hawk) that had just killed a pigeon in her back garden. The pigeon was still alive when she found it but died soon after.

If she leaves the pigeon out will the bird of prey return or is it too late now?

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    If not a Kite will probably come and get it.
    – Aravona
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 11:31
  • No kites be me unfortunately. There are some a little further up the road towards snowdonia but they don't travel as far east as I live
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 11:57
  • Kites do tend to go where there's plenty of food to scavenge, and they can travel rather far for it. You may never notice them do so though :)
    – Aravona
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 11:59
  • 1
    Something will get it. In our area, nothing edible will remain uneaten if left outdoors.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 22:43
  • Why did your friend disturb the bird? Was she trying to save the pigeon?Or was it unintentional? Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


The best thing to do would have been not disturb them in the first place, but I do understand the need of this question. So I wouldn't add any advice like "Do not disturb them in the first place".

From what I have seen, Buzzards and other raptors (not specifically the ones you mentioned) would return to kill if left alone. But, provided that it is done quite early before they choose to go away. Many other domesticated birds would join in too, mainly ravens and crows. Raptors usually take care of the uninvited ones.

In my city, Raptors have a typical hunting region where ravens won't happily go to the party.

If its already too late, the poor fellow is anyway going to die in most of the cases. If it is so, You shouldn't:

  • Try to feed the prey if it is not dead yet.
  • Try to shelter the prey if it is not dead yet.
  • Try to shoo away raptors and ravens. Some things are supposed to happen, lets not disturb the balance of the nature.
  • Feel bad that you couldn't help either of them.

Edit: I don't know if you should kill it to relieve it off it's pain. There are too many points to consider, example being, is it a rare bird and hence a punishable crime to kill it. I am not really good at things like killing an animal or a bird, I personally would never be able to something like that.

  • I have a question if you don't mind expanding your answer: should you try humanely killing the animal if you've already disturbed the bird feeding on the prey? Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 16:07
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    @JonathanLandrum: Hi Jonathan! We typically ask users to ask their correlated (but not entirely related to the actual question) queries as separate question if it hasnt been asked already in an another post. I am sure that there are questions related to the topic you asked about. But, I am still going to add a point about killing a bird.
    – WedaPashi
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 5:36

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