Mourning Chickadee?
April 26, 2004 6:49 AM   Subscribe

A picture's worth a thousand tweets, sure. But I still would like to know what happened here.
posted by Witty (39 comments total)
Don't click if dead birds make you sad.

Thanks for starting my week off badly, Witty.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:08 AM on April 26, 2004

i need a hug.
posted by Hankins at 7:11 AM on April 26, 2004

That's a grim little tragedy (not little for the surviving bird, of course).

But hawks must eat.....unless we can teach them to live on tofu.
posted by troutfishing at 7:21 AM on April 26, 2004

And - by the way - those little birds (chickadees?) are ruthless predators to worms and bugs which, in turn...

Tooth, beak, claw, mandible, stinger.

posted by troutfishing at 7:26 AM on April 26, 2004

The babelfish can get you the gist. Use the 'Chinese-trad to english' translation. Warning: Anthropomorphism.

My reading is that the down bird was hit by a car and the other was trying to help.

Either that, or it was looting and suffered the consequences.
posted by donpardo at 7:31 AM on April 26, 2004

Beautiful pictures, interesting post.

The photographer (who obviously observed more of the context than we can absorb from a few images) seems to think that his/her subject was trying to reanimate another member of it's flock by nudging and shaking it, which wouldn't surprise me. Birds in general seem to be quite sophisticated creatures.
posted by snarfodox at 7:31 AM on April 26, 2004

It sure sounds nice to think that the live bird was trying to reanimate its dead friend, but that "nudging and shaking" looks suspiciously more like the live bird was violating its dead friend in that most personal of ways.
posted by biscotti at 7:38 AM on April 26, 2004

maybe its just the fark in me coming out, but that did NOT look like the other bird was "trying to reanimate another member of it's flock by nudging and shaking it," it looked like it was a necrophilliac bird. or maybe its just me.
posted by ShawnString at 7:39 AM on April 26, 2004

The first photo reminded me of a klingon funeral (scroll down)

posted by whatnot at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2004

Yep, it was roadkill. This seems to be a very popular post, and even made onto TV news in Taiwan. One of the comments in the thread raised the possibility of necrophilia as well, but was shot down quickly down. > 99% of the sentiments expressed there are positively Victorian.

Seeing that birds have feelings too, I hereby vow to stop using 'birds' as a derogative term.
posted by of strange foe at 7:47 AM on April 26, 2004

When Elephants Weep - one perspective.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2004 looked like it was a necrophilliac bird.

posted by bitpart at 8:01 AM on April 26, 2004

I'm sorry guys, but none of you remember this recent, groundbreaking research, winner of a prestigious Ig Nobel award? Erm... I guess a warning is in order. "Warning: Necrophiliac homosexual duck rape"

(Mentioned earlier in this thread.) (Dangit, bitpart!)
posted by whatnotever at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2004

At first, I thought this was an attack and vanquish thing. Now, I'm really considering otherwise. While the possible necrophilia aspect may seem disturbing, such activity has been seen in many species and *may* be the giver-animal's attempt to reanimate... Puzzling and very interesting, very good post.
posted by moonbird at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2004

Shouldn't we have some kind of warning, similar to the ol' NSFW, for really sad posts involving dead animals?
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:11 AM on April 26, 2004

These are swallows, BTW, and look exactly like the ones who have a nest under my neighbor's eaves. I think the text says it was hit by a truck, and the other bird was inconsolable and disbelieving.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:22 AM on April 26, 2004

Yeah, feel bad for the terrorist bird. It tried a bombing run on the car but flew too low.
posted by bargle at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2004

If they're swallows, I think swallows mate for life.
posted by carter at 8:53 AM on April 26, 2004

Nice people, swallows.
posted by donpardo at 8:54 AM on April 26, 2004

posted by yoga at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2004

My initial thought was sad bird but then I too thought oh, pervert bird (and which strangely enough would mean there is a bit more happiness than sadness in the world). I hope its the latter as I just sent it to a friend as being funny. Having said that I have seen a tiny bird try to stop a magpie from killing its mate, which the magpie had pretty badly beaten up.
posted by biffa at 9:11 AM on April 26, 2004

I can't believe this post has generated so much discussion.
posted by ghastlyfop at 9:31 AM on April 26, 2004

Last time I held a gun, I was shooting at targets with a friend of mine, when a family of quail happened by. Of course, we took aim and I killed one. The keening of its mate haunted my dreams for awhile. Haven't picked up a gun since.

Moral of the story: Guns don't kill birds. People kill birds, which makes them sad, and the birds targets for rape.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:23 AM on April 26, 2004

Swallows are far better than spits though.

Sad little drama in jpeg.
posted by fenriq at 10:41 AM on April 26, 2004

It's pining!
posted by Ptrin at 10:59 AM on April 26, 2004

Metafilter: Sad Posts Involving Dead Animals

I'm particularly weak to these kinds of posts, so I for one would appreciate a [SPIDA] warning tag...
posted by patgas at 11:52 AM on April 26, 2004

i actually thought the one was playing dead to avoid the affections of the other. but i'm a dirty old man, and as such am much more fond of interpretations favoring sex than those favoring death. :-)
posted by quonsar at 12:03 PM on April 26, 2004

I second the request for a SPIDA tag in future. Damn.

You thought of necrophilia?? You people are sick!
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:43 PM on April 26, 2004

How about NSFP (Not Safe For Pussies)?
posted by botono9 at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2004

You thought of necrophilia?? You people are sick!

It looks round to see if anyone is watching then mounts the dead bird. If you saw quonsar do that I bet you wouldn't say he was 'just pining'.
posted by biffa at 2:49 PM on April 26, 2004

You thought of necrophilia??

Animals most definitely have emotions, and ones which mate for life do seem to mourn dead mates, however, it seems more than obvious to me that this bird is attempting to mate with the dead one (for whatever reason, from mourning to hysteria to getting some one last time) and not "trying to reanimate" it. Birds don't mount each other to reanimate each other, unless I missed that page in the Frankencheep handbook.
posted by biscotti at 3:21 PM on April 26, 2004

poor tweetie.
posted by dabitch at 3:43 PM on April 26, 2004

Either that, or it was looting and suffered the consequences.

So thread-inapropriate. Very nice.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:38 PM on April 26, 2004

if you look closely, it appears that there are two birds fighting for the chance to pleasure the corpse. third photo from the top, one bird is on the corpse. fourth photo, another bird flies in. then, the third photo from the bottom, you see the wings of the other bird. it looks like the first bird leaves and second starts, um "doing it".

what's strange is that they are all colored similarly, while usually female birds are plainer than their male counterparts. maybe the dead bird is male.

i don't know what the dead bird did to piss off the others, but it's getting turned out.
posted by centrs at 6:31 PM on April 26, 2004


(breadcrumbs to heaven)
posted by elphTeq at 8:13 PM on April 26, 2004

I think the birds were trying to resuscitate their friend by 'using various "physiological" techniques' such as anal dilation.
posted by moonbiter at 9:15 PM on April 26, 2004

I feel so dirty. Once upon a time a too would have seen these pictures as a brave little bird defending it's poor dead mate. But sadly no longer. I looked at these and thought "bird fights others for right to have sex with dead bird".

Wither my childlike innocence? I blame metafilter for making me see such smut in what is very possibly an innocent situation. I intend to sue.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:35 AM on April 27, 2004

The photographer didn't say anything about avian necrophilia, and as an interested witness to the event in real time it seems likely that he would notice.
posted by snarfodox at 12:43 AM on April 27, 2004

With regard to what the photographer said: people see what they want to see and eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. And being a witness doesn't give you any knowledge or understanding about what you're seeing, it just means you were there. Which is more likely when a bird is assuming a mating position on another bird (which it clearly looks like it's doing): that it's trying to reanimate its dead sweetie by standing on it or just that it's trying to mate? The "reanimation" line of thought involves adding an extra layer which is not necessary or indicated (not impossible, just not supported).

With regard to necrophila: why are people so worked up about this? It's not truly necrophilia (one assumes that the bird can enjoy sexual relations with a live bird), it's just birds having a bit of a short-circuit as regards mating behaviour.
posted by biscotti at 10:03 AM on April 27, 2004

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