Subject: What is this Western Bluebird eating?
Location: 40º18’14,10″N, 121º52’22.43″W
December 29, 2014 1:16 pm
I photographed a Western Bluebird as it foraged with conspecifics in a huge oak woodland in Northern California at 783 meters elevation. It carried a larvalike thing onto the road surface and proceeded to whack it to death! The attached photo shows the unfortunate prey object pre-whacking. What bug is that?
Thanks for submitting your excellent Food Chain image. Our good friend lepidopterist always says that insects, including the caterpillars of butterflies and moths, exist to feed birds. This caterpillar appears to be a Cutworm in the subfamily which you can find represented on BugGuide, possibly a Winter Cutworm.
Subject: Western Bluebird
December 30, 2014 12:34 am
Thank you for your speedy reply! Winter Cutworm looks correct. Here’s an edited photo that shows a little more detail of the caterpillar. Rather disheartening to learn that this introduced species is so widespread, but I doubt that the Bluebirds mind.
Thanks for the update Sylvia. The nice thing about some introduced species is that they do provide food for native species.