I’ve seen a lot of surprising things on this project, but this morning’s weirdness takes the cake.
First I came upon this fledgling Mourning Dove up against a door of the building. I don’t count local birds as trapped, but I still thought it best to move this bird to some trees not far away.
That’s not the weird part, this is:
It’s another female Indigo Bunting. Upon closer inspection, however, this bird was in worse shape than it should have been as an overnight casualty. The ants were enjoying it, but certainly they wouldn’t have had time to do more than process the bird’s eyes. This bird didn’t have eyes. It also lacked a beak, the base of the skull, and half of its thoracic cavity! It was floppy to the touch – no rigor mortis – but its feathers were only loosely attached. This wasn’t a bird that was so fresh that it hadn’t entered rigor mortis yet, this was a bird that had long since come out of rigor mortis to go soft again, i.e., something several days old at least.
Remarkably, the best I can piece together is that this bird is the same female Indigo Bunting that died on the north side of the building May 11th. It was nowhere to be seen on May 17th, but it reappeared today on the 18th at the south side of the building.
I’m at a loss to explain the movement and yesterday’s absence other than that this bird was scavenged and removed once, but not destroyed and eaten. Whatever took it then left it in this new location. Now the 6-day scavenging trial is about to be extended. Stay tuned . . .