In our yard we have what we call "The Orchard," a small plot of ground that has a few apple trees in it and a couple of rose bushes. It's fenced all 'round to keep out the black-tailed Columbia deer that hang out on the property.
It's hard to mow in there and as a result, it had gotten rather weedy. I entered to do some gardening and noticed a dead towhee on the ground at my feet.
You might think "ick" and want to turn away, but I found him fascinating. The bird had been "no more" for some time, and all that remained was a skeleton, feathery wings, and tail.
Insects had done their work and moved on, leaving this guy quite bald, empty-eyed, and all his ribs intact. Since the "orchard" is fenced, no animals could get in there to do damage to the bird's body.
There was no sign of foul play, no pile of torn off feathers that you might expect to see if a hawk had gotten him. I think he simply died of old age, fell to earth in the orchard, and, before he could begin pushing up daisies, I found him and brought him into the studio.
This is him, "lying in state." After I took this shot, I ran a little monofilament line through a couple of his ribs and hung him up over the light table, where I'm hoping to photograph him seemingly "flying."
Creepy? Yeah, I can see how you might think so. But he's rather mummified, has no smell, isn't leaking any bodily fluids, nor are insects interested in him.
When I've finished my photography, then what? Well, I'll bury him under a tree. Or a rhododendron bush. Or maybe under some Shasta daisies.
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