In June 2012 I was visiting Moyock in North Carolina (approx 36.5N 76W). In the garden where I was staying there was a tree with an American Robin's nest in it. I was alerted to something happening by the alarm calls of the parent birds. I then heard something falling through the foliage to the ground. On investigation I discovered a dead robin chick at the base of the tree and then saw a snake coming down the tree with another chick in its mouth. When it reached the ground the snake began the process of swallowing the chick, which appeared to be already dead. The snake was approximately 1m long.
As the chicks died so quickly I am assuming that the snake was venomous, even though it coiled around the chick while it was swallowing it. I attach several photos of the snake and its prey. The one with the snake coiled around the chick was the last in the sequence. Can you please ID it and tell me whether it was venomous.
Thank you for your swift and helpful reply. Being a constrictor, would it have killed the chick on/near the nest before bringing it down to swallow it? Would the first chick that fell to the ground dead be a 'dropped ball' on the snake's part or would it be deliberate so that it could eat it after the one it brought down from the tree in its mouth?
I'm sorry, but I really don't know. I would guess that it was more of an accident than a deliberate action (I don't think snakes are so clever), but I don't know snakes so well.