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Friday, January 08, 2010

JAN EDWARDS: What's this?

JAN: Strange markings in knee-deep snow. I know what did it.... you probably do too, Jon. But will anyone else know?

JON: I have to admit that I have no idea at all. Over to you guys....


Oll Lewis said...

I'm feeling a bit groggy with flu like symptoms today so the little grey cells are not firing on all cylinders but taking a look at the picture and seeing the birds tracks right through the middle of the strange markings I'd guess they're from the birds wings, perhaps he spread them out to shake some snow off them and created the lines of furrows in the snow on both sides in the process. I could be wrong but that's the first explanation I can come up with.

Retrieverman said...

It's either a grouse or a pheasant that has decided to lie down and let the snow fall on top of its body. When the bird decided to take flight, the flight feathers on its wings made the "tread marks." The bird's body was in the deep depression in the snow and you can see its feet where it pushed off.

I am familiar with this behavior in common or ring-necked pheasants, but I am unfamiliar with black and red grouse (or the capercaillie). I don't know whether they let the snow fall on themselves like that.

It's very good insulation for a pheasant. It's better than roosting in a tree, where the wind and chill can batter you. It's better to let the snow cover you like a blanket.

Unfortunately, a lot of pheasants die when the snow fall is too heavy and they can work their way out of the drifts. Or it snows so much that they can't keep a snow cave and the whole thin collapses on them.

Lots of game birds do this particular behavior.

My guess is that it was a pheasant or grouse.

dragonladych said...

A bird that's certain. I'd say a pheasant given that long shape at the back, where the tail seems to have dug in the snow. And the position of the footprints.

Retrieverman said...

A similar track is also made by birds of prey (such as an owl) as they come down on mice in the snow: http://blog.thetechnonaut.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/owl-eats-rabbit.jpg

It's some sort of bird.

Retrieverman said...

And owl track: http://randomfunnypicture.com/wp2/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/follow-rabbit-tracks-owl.jpg

Retrieverman said...

Pheasant wing prints in the snow:


Bird of prey or game bird wing tracks.

Final answer.

sammywise said...

Pea cocks??? turkeys?

Lanette said...

Bird of some sort.