Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 5:43 am | Fair 32º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with The Lab and American Riviera Bank
The LabAmerican Riviera Bank

Last Supper: Eaten Bird Kills Diner

A bird of prey doesn't always win out in the end.

[Editor’s note: This story was picked up by Jeanna Brynner of on April 24 and published on MSNBC. Click here to view the MSNBC report.]

Like a scene from Alien, the scaly, razor-sharp claw burst right out of the victim’s bloody chest. Only this was real. It could be why mom said don’t wolf your food.


Here’s the grim story, from Julia Di Sieno of the Animal Rescue Team.

"Sunday, March 30, 2008, was a busy day for Animal Rescue Team," Di Sieno said. "We landed a night heron that was ill, from Waller Park in Santa Maria. While driving to the vet with the sick bird, I noticed a bird of prey on the side of Highway 246. I turned the car around to pick up this poor bird, who died in my hands at the vet’s (Dr. George Bertram at Solvang Veterinary Hospital, 2025 Mission Drive).

"Upon examination, we noticed that the Sharp-shinned hawk died from his last meal, a bird that broke through the hawk’s crop. As you can see, this is very unusual — note the eaten bird’s leg hanging outside of the Sharp-shin’s chest! The bird that came out of the crop/chest was a small type, and most of his body was digested. This is the first time Dr. Bertram has seen anything like this.

"While we can’t save all of them, we sure did try. The night heron seems to be doing fine, and will be transported to the seabird pond in Santa Barbara.

"In order to move forward with the Animal Rescue Team mission we have two immediate needs," Di Sieno said. "A dedicated animal ambulance for rescues ($30,000), and construction of a new fawn facility ($20,000)." Donations are welcome.

Di Sieno has worked with wildlife for more than 20 years. The Animal Rescue Team offers a standing $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone abusing animals.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit organization has scheduled a July 12 fund-raiser at Koehler Winery, 5360 Foxen Canyon Road.

"Koehler Winery is sponsoring all the wine, use of their home, and a live auction trip to an opera in Chicago," Di Sieno said. "We will be selling tickets in May at $400 a couple."

Click here for more information or call 805.896.1859.

Bill Etling is a Santa Ynez Valley free-lance writer.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >