Remains of a Bird

While on a walk today, I noticed a two or three feathers and thought that it seemed odd to find them there. As I looked around, I noticed more and more feathers and it occured to me that perhaps a bird had died in the area and its feathers had been blown about or moved by other animals. It was not too difficult to find where the feathers seemed to be more numerous and search in that direction. Without too much trouble, I found a spot on the ground where it looked like a bird must have lost many feathers. Most of the feathers were small and white, although there were a few larger ones that were black, and a couple that were black and white. Further investigation in Bird Tracks and Sign by Mark Elbroch, leads me to believe that bird was a gull of some kind (there are a number of gull species that are common to this area). Although I did not find any bones, the concentration of feathers makes me think that the bird had either died at that spot or spent a fair amount of time there after dying. I do not know why or how a bird would shed that many feathers in one location, especially when it was back in the woods where gulls do not seem to go very often (if at all). I wonder what animal might have moved it. Perhaps it was a mink, marten, or river otter, although the most likely candidate is probably a dog. I also wonder about the cause of death.

I guess that I do not know where or how gulls tend to die, but fairly deep in the woods seems a strange place. It could have been perched in a tree, although I do not tend to think of gulls as perching in trees. It was not an especially large distance from the river, perhaps 20 meters or less from the shore, although the elevation gain was probably at least 3-5 meters as well. This leads me to think that the gull was very unlikely to have walked up from the river. However it does seem plausible that the gull was killed (or died on its own) down at the river and was carried up into the woods to be consumed. However, if this was the case, it is unclear to me why there would be the collection of feathers in one spot but no body. I suppose the first animal could have partially consumed it at that spot and then either taken it elsewhere or left it behind to be moved by a second animal.

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