Thursday, July 24, 2008
More About Birds
Wild Turkey carcass, picked clean
One nearly intact egg from the nest, held by birthday boy, Kai Lillie
While out on a short little clear-the-head walk around the north half of our property this morning, I stumbled upon a perfectly picked clean wild turkey carcass with its feathered wings still attached. It was in a rather odd position, as though it had tripped and fallen on its face (which was strangely missing), and it's skeleton appeared as though a crowd of Thanksgiving diners had ravenously picked every last tender morsel off with many greedy fingers. There were beautiful turkey feathers everywhere.
Hmmmm, interesting. I am fascinated by these natural mysteries. As I reflected on it after my return, while Ella was taking her nap, I thought that other birds must have done the picking, since certainly a mammal would have just crunched through the bones and eaten them up, like our dog would most certainly do, given the chance. But Drew went back to visit the spot with Ella after she woke up, and he found the nest, which had two whole, intact eggs in it, and a few others that were cracked open and eaten. He theorizes that a raccoon, or other mammal (maybe a fox, coyote, skunk, or ???) chased momma off her nest and killed her, and went back for the eggs, while carrion beasts finished off the carcass. Not sure what to say, my tracking skills are not yet so great that I can decipher the unseen.
This is a great example of "unseen kingdoms", a topic I wrote an article about in the Permaculture Activist magazine called "Using Naturalist Observation as a Design Tool". I am always curious about these stumblings onto random acts of natural selection, and what they reveal about the passing unseen events on our land, and further, what I might learn from them. For example, early this morning, while I couldn't sleep, a single coyote was yipping quite loudly down the hill in the creek canyon. Aside from being worried it would wake Ella up, I wondered what it was saying? In the past, when this has happened, there has been a deer kill. I might go look tomorrow, to see what I can find.