11 February 2011

Cold without redemption

"Actually not at all sad, if you think about it! It's the other 987,208,947 carcasses you have collected that were sad." - Froggi

Ok, our winter has been remarkably mild, except for every other week or so when we get a cold front that lasts anywhere from 4-20 hrs. The frigid blast last week left us without water from Monday night until Saturday afternoon - and we'd even left the faucets running. Thankfully we only found one pipe broken, it was the main well line at a spot above ground. That's what happens when three days are below freezing with gusty winds.

Enough of our inconveniences.

I've posted before about birds hitting windows, cars hitting birds, wind turbine blades hitting birds, and a myriad of other bird death issues. However, I think this will be my first post to actually document a bird that died of natural causes. It is an Inca Dove. Adult, from what I can tell. Not sure of sex.

I wish I'd gotten a photo of it where I found it. But the temps were getting warmer and I wanted it to be preserved ASAP. It was in the yard, under the tall evergreen thing that our clothes line passes - where nothing can be hung on the line for a few feet because Inca Doves roost there and their droppings are magnetically attracted to clean clothes.

To recount all of the dead birds I've found, photographed, 'salvaged' or otherwise witnessed, the list would be well over one hundred species long. Baby Tree Swallows thrown out of their nest by House Sparrows. Natural cause? Hardly. Certainly, I've seen dead fledgelings and nestlings and those are definitely natural causes. Dead baby bird, still in the nest, tangled in yarn/string/twine/fishing line that cut off its circulation? Also not a natural cause.

Gulls, terns, pelicans. Perhaps some were natural. Most were beyond the point of determining cause - they could have ingested hooks or plastic. Indeed, even the one domestic bird that I watched die of West Nile... it was quick. Yet this Inca Dove is part of a species close to my heart, and one of our eight regulars in the yard. Life is fragile, but resilient. Yet there's such a fine line life walks.

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