Saturday 30 April 2022

Bird- not- Cat Tales

Forensic Meanderings

Finding a dead bird, possibly a blackbird,

hard to tell, it was mutilated,

incision five centimetres deep in the abdomen,

weapon unclear, skin still lustrous,

approximate time of death-recent

wings-clipped, beak-cleaved off,

head-intact but eschew,

its hollow bones and air sacs

rendering it weightless in my hand


And I wondered who the opportunistic predator

or scavenger might have been?


A cat would have brought it home,

at least mine would have,

and a fox would finish it off

or hide it for later retrieval.

I buried it under a thick pile of leaves

knowing full well that it would be disinterred

by the next opportunistic scavenger who happened by.


But the whole sorry business set me thinking

about mortality and immortality

and the symbolism of finding a dead bird,

and inevitably led me to the issue of my own demise

and the choice between cremation or burial as the preferred option

and of how Bob Hope on his death bed when asked by his wife which he preferred?

answered “Surprise me!”


According to Google I should have double bagged the carcass

and relegated it to the trash can- and by way of an aside-

did you know that picking up feathers, even from the ground,

is against federal law, at least in the States,

where most of our Google speak comes from.

Enacted in 1918 to protect the species from

the feathers for women’s hats trend

so rampant at the time-


But getting back to my own dilemma

that the blackbird is simultaneously a harbinger of change

and an emissary from the devil

I’m left confused as to the disposal of the body

the meaning of my encounter with a dead bird

and the perpetrator of the crime

if there was one


Copyright 2022 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

PS found a piece on the Net by Julie Craves University of Michigan who, in the event of finding a dead bird, advises us to leave it or move it out of the way and let nature take its course.. I say Hooray to that.



  1. Love to hear blackbirds singing before the rain. I would definitely go for cremation - I like the idea of being on someone's mantlepiece!

  2. And PS: you're on a roll. Loving every single piece of your recent writing!