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.

IMG_2012-right-side

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:

IMG_2014-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!

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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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