Marco D
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:24 pm
Occupation: Student 7th grade


Postby Marco D » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:38 pm

[color=#000000][color=#00FF00]Hello, I have a question for a veterinarian. Yesterday I found a dead bird in my backyard. I observed the bird and saw the it was turning gray, there were ants eating it and it was starting to decay. I would like to know how long you think it would take to decay? I would also know how you think it died.

Posts: 1055
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:47 am

Re: Veterinarian

Postby MelissaB » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:47 pm

I am not a veterinarian, but I study wild birds.

Do you have any idea what sort of bird it was? Was it near a window? My guess would be that it either died from hitting a window or was killed by a predator (a cat, a hawk, etc.). However, it could have died from a disease, so I would suggest not touching it without gloves and not getting your face too close to it.

It is impossible to know exactly how long it will take to decay. (Especially since I do not know what size the bird is.) I would guess that the soft tissue will decay within a few days to a few weeks. The feathers and the skeleton, however, will take much longer to break down. If nothing moves it, it could be a year or more before the feathers start to decay, and the skeleton will not decay for many years. However, you may go out one morning and find that it has disappeared and a cat or something dragged it somewhere else to eat what's left!

Please be aware that it is illegal to possess most birds' tissues (including feathers), so do not be tempted to keep any of the feathers, no matter how the animal died.

Return to “Grades 6-8: Getting Ready for the Science Fair”