I found a peregrin falcon skull recently and would like to clean it up a bit. It was outside for quite some time so has been exposed to the elements and is pretty well dried out. What would be the best way to really clean the dried pieces of flesh off of the skull and make it look more presentable?
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better put it back where you found it!
I haven't moved it yet, I just found the dead bird on top of a building at work so I figured i'd clean up the mess. Is it illegal to clean up a dead bird?
Peregrine Falcons are on the endanged bird list. Having any part of them is illegal, unless you have the appropriate permits. This is usually limited to educational type places. It's sort of like eagle feathers. You can't have them either. If you're sure it's a peregrine, leave it where it is, and contact a local natural history museum, university, etc to see if they would like to salvage it. Chances of an individual getting/having the proper papers is almost zilch. If it's not a peregrine, check 'maceration' in the archives. Good luck.
I am assuming it's a peregrine at this point. From what I can compare pictures on the computer to what I remember it looking like. I assume it's peregrine because we also have an active nest on another structure that is definitely peregrine less than 100 yards away. There are 2 of them around currently and they had a baby with them not long ago. This one was found probably 4 or 5 months ago though and has just been sitting out in the elements. At that point it was already fairly well decomposed so we have no idea how long it's been dead for.
I guess i'll just leave it alone, better to be safe then sorry.
Peregrines are no longer threatened or endangered (Delisted in the last few years as their populations have recovered enough to warrant this) but they are still protected by the Migratory Bird Act which makes it illegal for you to possess the skull. Would be worth it though to contact your local natural history museum, wildlife rehab center or somewhere that has the appropriate permits that would make it legal to possesss the skull. At least then it could be used for educational purposes.