The most Exciting Thing all Week

So I’ve been looking out my window. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a pervert; lots of people look out of windows. Don’t you judge me! It’s interesting what we focus on. Maybe it’s a case of small things amusing small minds. In this instance I’m looking at a small bird: An Eurasian blackbird, to be precise. And this particular specimen is stone-cold fucking dead. Bird has been dead for 2 weeks now. In that time, Bird has undergone a significant transformation, but let us back up a step. <rewind>

The first week was dead boring. A biologist would tell you that there was a lot going on under the hood – so to speak, but from my perspective the bird simply flopped around a bit as the wind dictated. So anyway, Bird looked just as birds do (sans animation) for about a week. 

In the 2nd week, the maggots became visible. Masticating meat-house maggots, merrily munching away. I love how nature cleans up after itself. I know maggots aren’t everyone’s idea of a good time, and I wouldn’t invite them in for tea and scones but the cycle of life is an endless wonder. Yesterday the carcass collapsed in the rain. It looks a bit disgusting but this is where the real fun starts. 

There exists a sparrow (one of millions) that is visiting dead-bird, and eating the maggots that are eating aforementioned dead-bird. Bird eats maggot eats bird. Different species of bird, but it’s almost cannibalism-by-proxy. The sparrow works tirelessly, returning every few minutes to gobble more maggots, no doubt whisking the little wrigglers back to the nest to feed the next generation of hungry beaks. 

The story ends there, but this whole scenario reminds me how simple it is.


(C) Grumpy Axolotl

Blackbirds and Starlings

NB: New Zealand’s blackbird species is the Common Blackbird, also known as the Eurasian Blackbird. Blackbirds in your area may differ. Blackbirds and starlings were both introduced to New Zealand in the 1860s. They like it here.

Know your birds. The starling and male-blackbird (female blackbirds are brown), at first glance, appear strikingly similar, but they are not birds of a feather. Here are some handy visual tips to distinguish our two feathered friends.

Tip 1: The blackbird has a much longer tail. This is easily seen in profile or from above.

Tip 2: Blackbirds hop along the ground in a dignified manner with both feet together. Starlings strut about as if they are the cock-of-the-walk.

Tip 3: In bright sunlight, the starling’s plumage appears irridescent green, whereas the blackbird’s plumage is a matte black, with a hint of blue.

Bonus Tip: Any bird lying motionless on its back with its legs sticking up in the air is almost-certainly dead. Should this fault be observed, please consult the user-manual for your particular model of bird, or seek advice from your nearest bird-trader.

Photo credit: Charlesjsharp • CC BY-SA 3.0