Sunday, July 8, 2007

Two-Part Post

Part 1 - Knitting Humor

I suppose I'm breaking some copyright law by reprinting this comic, but I'm going to take a chance because it's too cute not to share. Plus it gives me a good idea about how to earn extra money after retirement. (Let's hear it for Gramma!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Part 2 - Identifying the Victim

Sometime in the last week, an avian murder was committed in my yard. I am unable to identify the victim from its remains and am looking for help from anyone who might possibly recognize what bird these feathers belonged to.

The feathers were found under a white pine tree in the front yard. At first I thought flicker, but ruled that out because there were no yellow shafts on any of the feathers. These feathers are more of gray-ish, not blue-ish, so I ruled out bluejay. Then I thought maybe dove, but ruled that out also because there was too much white on the feathers.

The black, inverted 'V' on the largest feathers (wing or tail?) really has me stumped, as well as the lighter tan fluffy feathers (top right corner), which I'm thinking are breast or tummy feathers. The other clump of feathers on the top left are two-colored: black on the outside and brown in between.

If anyone recognizes these feathers, I would certainly appreciate a definitive ID. Thanks.


Larry said...

I don't know how to tell a bird by it's feathers-
The first thing I thought when I saw it was it looked like Blue Jay feathers.

I'll bet you julie Zickefoose knows-she seems to know all that kind of stuff.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I bet Julie would know also (I'll give her a shout and see if she can check on it)

I'm wondering now if it was maybe 2 different birds eaten in the same place....

(I've asked Mon@rch to take a look and guess also, if he has a chance)

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Hi Ruthie,

I wish I knew birds like Julie too. She helped me out with a bluebird issue the other day. They were older than I thought because I had miscounted. She's awesome.

Thanks for validating my approach to the tomato issue.

(BTW, I added you to my daily blog reading. Thanks for visiting! And thanks for reminding me about those post-hole diggers!)

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Julie Zickefoose said...

Aw, shucks. Science Chimp loves this stuff. It is a mourning dove. You were right, Ruthie. You rarely see the white in the outer tail feathers because the brown central feathers are longer and hide them. And because they take off so darn fast, and that's about the only time they spread their tails. My favorite color on a mourning dove is the peach undertail coverts (top right of your picture.
If I had to guess, I'd say that this bird was killed by a hawk, because the feathers have no saliva on them, and are not chewed. Generally, when the feathers look really pristine, a hawk or owl is the killer. When they're all bent and matted and chewed, think mammal.
So the next time you spook modos from your feeder, watch for the white in the outer tail!
Thanks for asking!


RuthieJ said...

Thanks Julie, for the assistance. I looked at the mourning dove in my Kaufman, but the picture was not that clear (so I had ruled it out). Now that you point these things out and I hold the book really close, I can definitely see what you're talking about. You can be sure I'll look a little closer at them flying too.

I do have a Cooper's Hawk that swoops through the yard regularly and yesterday I found these dove feathers plus a pile of robin feathers, so CH & family are not going hungry thanks to my yardbirds.

Mary said...

The Science Chimp knows! I witnessed the same feathers scattered about a few months ago. I didn't think "dove" because I saw white, too, but I knew it was a Dove that had been wrestled and carried off because I had seen it happen before my eyes. Sad. It was probably a Cooper's.

I had a mammal in my yard a few days ago that messed with a young rabbit. They are hungry.

I loved that OPAL!!!!! Ha! Cute cartoon.

mon@rch said...

Sorry Ruthie, I was off schedule today and never got around to seeing your comment until a few min's ago! I too agree with the Science Chimp that this is for sure a Mourning Dove! Many times we don't look at them up close and they are very stunning birds.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
I'm OK with sacrificing a dove or two for the Cooper's Hawk. I'd rather know they were returned to nature than shot by a hunter this fall!

I suppose with your drought-like weather, the animals are getting desperate and going into yards and areas they wouldn't normally visit. I bet your pond is attractive to all critters also.

Hi Tom,
That's OK, you deserve a day off too! I figured between you or Julie, my mystery would be solved. Thanks

Jayne said...

The mourning doves are so plentiful and slow. Hate to see them get snatched, but they do have the benefit of numbers. I've seen both the Sharp Shinned and Coopers grab them in my yard.

Anonymous said...

Glad you found out what the bird was, Dad and I both thought it was a blue jay, very young, we have quite a few and the babies are gray from where we look at them. It's a good thing you have Julie Z to ask.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I have lots of doves right now too. The bluejays usually sound the alarm when Cooper's Hawk flies into the yard, but this dove must not have heard the call!

Hi Mom,
I really was thinking bluejay also, but those tan & brown colored feathers really threw me off. Julie Z is the expert and I'm glad she had time to take a look and solve my murder mystery.