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Taphonomic Signatures of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on Avian Prey Bones from Boundary Bay, British Columbia, Canada

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This study investigated the damage that bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) left on an accumulation of waterfowl bones in Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Avian sterna were identified quantitatively and qualitatively to the species level, most belonging to the order Anseriformes, family Anatidae. We suggest that avian sterna with large puncture holes, sharp breaks, bone flakes, cracks and jagged margins are identifiable and diagnostic to eagle feeding. This is relevant to archaeological situations where raptor-produced bone dumps could be confused with anthropogenic refuse middens. The study has two main results: 1) determination of species composition of kills from an eagle-produced bone dump and 2) description and quantification of the frequency and type of raptorial predator damage to the sterna of the avian prey.
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