Lesson of the Day: Don’t Procrastinate Burying a Dead Bird

When I came home from work on Thursday, I found a startling addition to the little garden area by my front door: a downed adult bird, sitting motionless in the grass. I ran inside to put down my bags, then called out to my housemate that there was a hurt bird we needed to help.

“Uh, he’s been there for about four days,” she informed me. Hmm, maybe not so much hurt as he is dead? I still had to investigate my poor fallen buddy.

In true photographer fashion, I lunged for my camera before returning outside. As I snapped dozens of photos of his limp body, I turned his frame over – and then he started to breathe. I know corpses collect and emit loads of gas during decomposition, but I could swear these were shallow breaths coming from this body with hollowed eye sockets. Disturbed, I ran back inside.

I was convinced he was still alive, but refused to burden myself with the guilt I’d feel if I ended his misery and killed him. I tried to forget about it. The next two days, it rained. The bird’s feathers grew soggy and parted in places to expose his blackened flesh. I was too creeped out to dare move his body to a proper burial spot.

Finally, I decided to bury him about 20 minutes ago. I dug a deep hole in the dirt next to a towering batch of ferns, and began to lift his body with my small shovel. It flopped over, and dozens of maggots poured out from his devoured belly, followed by a foul stench that dangerously irritated gag reflex.

It was the single most disturbing interaction I have ever had with a creature buddy. I wanted to give this poor fellow a proper resting spot, but my foolish procrastination led me to a haunting experience – I probably won’t be able to eat for the rest of the day.

Kids, if you see a dead bird and feel obligated to give it a righteous grave, do it then, don’t wait – because the sight of juicy maggots feasting on your deceased little buddy will not be easy to erase from your thoughts.

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3 thoughts on “Lesson of the Day: Don’t Procrastinate Burying a Dead Bird

  1. Dad says:

    Disgusting as those maggots were, they were simply returning the bird’s body back to the earth. Decomposition is indeed gross, but it’s part of the very nature you love. Did you get any close-up shots? YUCK; they’d be good for putting on the fridge as a diet tool.

    • Katie Boué says:

      Nope, only got pictures of the bird pre-burial about 3 days before the discovery of the maggots. You know I love bugs, but maggots really just get me every time. They’re so vile.

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