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So this was sad, and mysterious. 

We have a Cardinal couple that visit(ed) our feeder regularly. It was so sweet to see him feed her directly. Well, on Sunday I saw a dead, decapitated, male on my front lawn (see funeral below).

How? Why? We've got a new mother stray cat with newborn kittens that chose our hedges as a maternity ward, but if it was her, I'd think she would have used the whole bird as food, which would still have been sad, but somewhat less heinous. As we're in Boca Raton, FL, we have iguanas everywhere, but this seems too surgically precise to have been one of them. 

Any ideas?

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Could have been a cat, could have also been another bird. There are reports of grackles and crows only eating the head, for the brain. (In fact, I read an article not that long ago about even small birds turning murderous and going for brains of other birds and rodents in lean times.)

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That is a very plausible theory. Grackles have been dominating the feeder, to the exclusion of the usual Cardinals, Bluejays, and Mourning Doves.

How does one change the population dynamic of a feeder?

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Just now, Simester said:

That is a very plausible theory. Grackles have been dominating the feeder, to the exclusion of the usual Cardinals, Bluejays, and Mourning Doves.

How does one change the population dynamic of a feeder?

Actually, as a fan of The Walking Dead, I think I know what I have to do to stop these brain-eating Grackles, but I'm going to need a really tiny crossbow. 

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13 minutes ago, Simester said:

How does one change the population dynamic of a feeder?

Change the food.  If you’re putting out peanuts or suet, stop offering them for a few weeks. 

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I had a bird mix for awhile which they all ate, but now there's only black oil sunflower seed.

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46 minutes ago, Simester said:

Actually, as a fan of The Walking Dead, I think I know what I have to do to stop these brain-eating Grackles, but I'm going to need a really tiny crossbow. 

I see myself as more of a Michonne, so I would need swords. Lol.

Other feeder option is take them down until the grackles move on.

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:02 AM, meghann said:

Could have been a cat, could have also been another bird. There are reports of grackles and crows only eating the head, for the brain. (In fact, I read an article not that long ago about even small birds turning murderous and going for brains of other birds and rodents in lean times.)

Oh my gosh, you're right!

Watch the attached video, that's the video of the crime!

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On 5/8/2020 at 11:08 AM, meghann said:

Other feeder option is take them down until the grackles move on.

I did what you said and they showed up, fluttered about, and then left. Sadly, the female cardinal also showed up and had nothing to eat (and I understand they're monogamous, so I can't help but think of her as a widow who hasn't been told).

Also, I hope that doing this doesn't look like I'm trying to gentrify the bird feeder. 

I fear that in 30 years, when I'm running for office, these posts will come to light about how I'm trying to keep away the Grackles and Crows. (I better try to attract some Cowbirds and a few Eurasian Jackdaws just to protect my image).

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2 hours ago, Simester said:

Sadly, the female cardinal also showed up and had nothing to eat

I'd leave the feeders down for at least ten days.  I've read wild birds only get 20 to 30 percent of their food from feeders, and yours probably aren't the only feeders in the area.  She'll come back, or others will.

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:02 AM, meghann said:

Could have been a cat, could have also been another bird. There are reports of grackles and crows only eating the head, for the brain. (In fact, I read an article not that long ago about even small birds turning murderous and going for brains of other birds and rodents in lean times.)

Were you serious about Grackles/Crows doing this or just teasing? (I'm very gullible).

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