Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NAOMI WEST: Bird's head conundrum


A couple days ago I found a dead bird right next to the house (in what would be the flower bed, if we had flowers). It had died suddenly, as its wings were spread -- probably by a cat or something. I didn't examine very closely for cause of death. But what struck me was that at first I thought its head was gone; then I thought its head had been somehow driven into the ground. On closer examination, I realised that its head was covered with these little straw-like needles lying on the ground. (I'm not sure what those straw-like needle things were, but maybe they were dead cedar needles fallen from trees.)

Ants were already eating it and as always, I wanted to make sure the poor bird was definitely dead and not being finished off painfully by the ants, so I flipped it over. The ants scattered and I saw the bird was truly dead. However, when I returned later that day the head was again covered in the needles, and this time I was able to see the ants actually engaged in the painstaking task. I figured they were burying the whole body for some reason, but they only buried the head.

By the next day something else had come along and finished off the bird. But I was wondering why ants bury the head.



Syd said...

Maybe your ants are like some humans and find it off putting to have the head left on their food.

I was once in a rather high class restaurant with a young lady and we ordered grilled Trout. It was served whole (including head and eyes) as it should be. The lady was shocked to say the least, saying that the damn thing was watching her. I reassured her that it was dead and could not see her, but before eating the fish, she covered the head with a lettuce leaf, in much the same way that your ants covered the birds head.

Naomi said...

That must be it. Fire ants must have delicate natures.