How do birds catch food?

Catching food depends on the bird. Some birds dive for fish while others hop around on lawns, eat insects that are attracted to lights in parking lots, run around on beaches with their beaks open, or hunt in other ways.

A few examples:

  • Peregrine Falcons “stoop” or dive from high altitudes, very,very fast, and come out of the dive just before crashing on the ground, with their caught prey.
  • Black-billed Magpies frequently remove ticks from deer and moose. They might eat the ticks or hide them for later.
  • Jays flick aside leaf litter with sideways swipes of bill to find food or sometimes they feed on wasp larvae by stealing the wasp nest and carrying it to a nearby perch. There, they will hold the nest with their feet and dig out the larvae with its beak.
  • California Gulls might hover over cherry trees and knock fruits to ground. Then, they fly to ground to retrieve and eat the fruits.
  • Some birds steal or pirate food from other birds or from humans.
  • Ring-billed Gulls will drop hard-to-open food while in flight to the hard ground to break it open for easier eating.
  • Some birds (crows and ravens) might drop hard nuts on the road and wait for cars to come by to crack them open.
  • Corvids (crows, ravens, jays, magpies, and nutcrackers) are clever at finding ways to get food. Watch this wonderful clip to learn more about ravens:

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