Friday, September 17, 2010

The Curious Incident of the Dead Birds in the Morning

A few weeks ago Bryan and I were somewhere, I forget where really, when a pigeon dropped dead from the sky. That's weird, we said, and then kept on doing whatever we were doing. I mean, things die. Handsome men drop dead from heart attacks on the street right in front of you during a rainstorm in Paris (true story), hamsters stop hamstering and fish, well, they float to the top. Certainly birds don't always die while curled up in their nest not feeling all that well, no?

But then this morning Zoey and I found two beautiful yellow birds dead in our driveway, perfectly intact. There were no apparent gunshot wounds or ruffled feathers courtesy of Nacho, just necks a little twisted and very, very still.
A thousand bonus empty points if you can tell me what kind of birds these are, because honestly? I have never seen anything like them around here. Are they pet birds? Exotic birds? Birds dipped in the nectar of marigold and left at my feet as some sort of plague on both my houses? Anyone?
They were just lying there, maybe two feet apart from one another. Are they dead skeletons, mama? Zoey asked, and when I confirmed time of death to be sometime before we found them, she asked if we could put them on the mantle for decoration. Valid question, but no.

A dead pigeon, I get. They live a hard life. But this? A pair of bright yellow birds dead in my driveway? So help me Edgar Allan Poe, I don't mean to sound like the Double Rainbow Guy, but what does it mean? Really, this is not a rhetorical question. Help me--please--before I rip up my floorboards.

15 comments:

3 Including Me... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sparkie said...

I'm going with American Goldfinch. It could be the age-old problem of windows that they try to fly through, seeing light on the other side of the house.

sunshine said...

Yeah, I will go with what Sparkie commented. In fact I was going to ask if you have cleaned your windows lately, because that used to happen at my house growing up, we had some sliding glass doors and birds used to fly into the windows all the time, sometimes they will just past out but if they are flying pretty fast they can get kill... that's what I think it's happening. 2 birds at the same time, sad coincidence :(

Erin said...

Someone might be poisoning them, inadvertently. Pesticides and such.

Geli said...

I agree with Sparkie too - Goldfinch. We have a few
around here (souther California) and yes, they do fly
into windows. We had one big tinted window where the reflection of the sky was so distinct that we had so many birds fly into. I was heartbroken to see the little
ones dead in the morning, so we bought paste-on
flowers and put them all over that particular window.
Worked like a charm!

Petunia Face said...

Ok, yes, I think they are American Goldfinch, though I have never seen them around here. (Doesn't mean much as I am not a birdwatcher.) And yes, I think I'm going with the ran-into-the-window story. It's the most plausible (and the least creepy).

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Based on the shape and color of the bill, the size and color of the wing bars (upper one is more yellowish & bottom one is more whitish), and the bright yellow of the undertail coverts, I actually would identify them as Western Tanagers. Western Tanagers also can have red plumage on their heads depending on their sex and the season, but not all Western Tanagers have red heads. Western Tanagers are also migrating through right now (they also breed here). American Goldfinchs also abound here, but the patterns on their wings are different and their undertail coverts are usually white.
-Birdgrrl

Sherry said...

I'm clueless about birds. Wouldn't know a cockatoo from the bird on the Fruit Loops box. But I will tell you we have birds flying into our great room windows all the time. And I can tell you that some of the windows are so high up that they've only been cleaned twice in about 10 years. So dirty, or clean...birds fly into windows. I bet the Fruit Loop bird doesn't do that though.

shannon said...

I don't know where I've been, but that's the first time I've seen that double rainbow thing and... wow. But those poor birds! I love the decorating sense Zoey is developing. Ha. Has she been to Paxton Gate by any chance?

Sparkie said...

I defer to you, Birdgrrl. I think you are right. Never having seen a Western Tanager, I went with the most obvious.
I see what you did there, PF - flush out the birdwatchers among us...;-)

Anonymous said...

this is exactly why i read your blog. you crack me up. it seems this type of thing would rightly happen to you. you can turn it into a funny, poetic and somewhat creepy event.

thank you & keep up the good work.

Petunia Face said...

Shannon--Zoey loves Paxton Gate, and Paxton Kids! We also love the slightly gothier "Loved to Death" on Haight.

Birdgrrl--very impressive!

Rebecca F. said...

When we have more than one dead bird around, we have to call the public health department. They start to worry about west nile virus.

Good luck. I hope it is the window thing....

krista said...

this means something. i just don't know what.
on a somewhat related note, have you ever heard the 'this american life' episode about spaulding gray and his wife and kids and birds? it's a good one. something about death and birds in there as well. sad but beautiful.

Judy said...

Western Tanager....I'm going with birdgirl. They don't look like goldfinches to me...and I can't tell the size but goldfinches are pretty small. ID aside, your post made me strangely sad yesterday. I don't buy the flying into a window because that would have killed them instantly and birds usually don't fly horizontal to each other so they wouldn't have hit a window at the same time-even if there had been one near where you say them-and I don't think there is a window close by the driveway. So, if they were.y mauled by a predator, that leaves poison/pesticides. Even so, how strange to find two, same place, same time. I too think it is some sort of omen but don't know what.

And what can I say about our Zoey? That apple didn't fall far from the tree! Soon we'll have to start teaching her how to find dead animals and clean the skulls or skeletons for her own homemade decor.
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Mom
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