What is my mystery baby bird?

September 23, 2015

Here’s my newest specimen: a tiny baby bird, maybe 5 or 6 cm from wingtip to foot. This one came from my next-door neighbours: apparently it had been sitting on their car for several weeks before they thought to lift it off and give it to me.


As you can see, the specimen is extraordinarily well preserved — more or less mummified, I suppose by wind-drying. Like a Chinese duck, though less appetising.

Here is the slightly flattened left side:


So I have two questions:

  • What is this? Beyond the level of “a bird of some kind”.
  • How can I prep it down to just a tiny skeleton? The only idea I have, really, is to slightly moisten it, and leave it in a tub with a hole in the top for inverts to get in. Can I do better?

Help me!

8 Responses to “What is my mystery baby bird?”

  1. The beak and legs look crow-y to me. There’s a full-size skeleton down here http://animalvista.com/about-crow-birdcorvus-corone/

  2. Looking at the beak I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t a baby rook. My son has several in various states of desiccation and skeletonisation; during the nesting season they appear dead underneath the trees near our house and he collects them on his way back from school.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    You wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t a baby rook? So you would be surprised if it was? I guess I’m misreading this. (Good hobby for your son, though.)

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    Other suggestions from Twitter:
    Darren Naish says more likely to be a blackbird: https://twitter.com/TetZoo/status/646600883392937984
    The Twite Network suggests a wood pigeon: https://twitter.com/Twite_news/status/646619084352827392

  5. Well, I wouldn’t not be surprised if it didn’t turn out that I wasn’t correct and it was (or perhaps wasn’t) not a baby rook or not. Clear?

    You say “good hobby”, but our greenhouse had a decaying grass snake in it all summer and the smell was quite incredible.

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    Ah, but what would be the point of a greenhouse without a decaying grass snake?

  7. DK Fennell Says:

    What is happening to this place, Mike. First mammals and now theropods?

  8. Mike Taylor Says:

    Yeah, I know, DK. You’re quite right. We’ll bring you some more apato-combat art real soon now.

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