A Suspicious Death

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: A Suspicious Death
From: "Dicksons" <>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 13:53:17 +1000
Just a while ago I was witness to the "murder" of a male Magpie Lark & I'm struggling to establish the cause of death.
I was fixing my bike in the backyard when down the back, near the edge of the bushes the deceased began rolling over & over with wings flailing. At first I thought he was in a tussel with a large grasshopper or similar prey item but after about 20 seconds he stopped moving & was dead on his back (Where do you check for a bird's pulse?). Within 5 MINUTES ants had arrived to begin dismembering him, starting at the eyes. Trouble is I didn't see any other animal on the scene. Only two Great Bowerbirds were seen hanging around afterwards - are they capable of this - I suppose they could've been hard to see in the shadows, particularly with all that dazzling black & white all over the place. The only other possibility I can think of is a snake, although it would actually eat the bird. The Magpie Lark didn't loose any feathers. What else could it be a heart attack, a seizure? Investigations are continuing, all leads will be appreciated.
Tim Dickson
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