A Suspicious Death

To: Dicksons <>
Subject: A Suspicious Death
From: Penn Gwynne <>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 21:09:58 -0700 (PDT)

If you can? check the beak both inside and out for an unusual appearance? chemical spraying nearby perhaps? maybe wise to wear thin rubber gloves.

Are the eyes glazed or of a deep smokey appearance?

John A. Gamblin

Dicksons <> wrote:

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.

What type of ants were they?

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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