Ded Bird found in Ypsilanti


I found a dead bird in the yard today. Clementine had friends over, and, before I let them take their shoes off and run around like lunatics, I made a quick sweep of the yard for dog shit. And that’s when I noticed the dead bird in front of the compost pile. I bent down to pick it up, thinking that it was just another pile of shit, but then noticed the little legs sticking up, out of the middle. Being something of a macabre individual, I asked the girls to come over and take a look at it. We talked about how the bird might have died, and then I dug a hole while they worked on a tombstone. We buried it beneath the pine tree out back. Clementine’s friend Penelope, as she’s the oldest, did the writing. If you can’t read it, it says, “Ded Bird,” punctuated by a frowny face.

So, after we were done saying words over the grave, and the girls had gone on to play something called “dog jail,” it occurred to me that I’d also found a dead bird last weekend, in the alley behind the house, about 25 feet from where I’d found this one. (That one didn’t get a burial. I’m embarrassed to say it, but he just got shoveled into a plastic bag, and tossed in the trash can, along with all the other crap I was finding in the alley.) So, that’s when it hit me that something might be going on… What are the chances, after not seeing a dead bird in the yard after 9 years of living here, that I find two within a week? (Our cats don’t leave the house, and neighborhood cats typically keep their distance, due to our dog, so I don’t think it can be attributed to feline ferocity.)

So, now I’m freaking out about the bird flu, wondering if maybe we’re having an outbreak of some kind here in Ypsi. Would any of you in the Public Health world happen to know? And, if there is reason to think that another U.S. outbreak is at hand, should I dig the bird up and send it to a lab or something? (Can I just hand it to a cop?)

My other theory, which is probably considerably more likely, is that someone is spraying poison on my berry bushes, in hopes of killing me.

Seriously, if one of you professors of Public Health out there could leave a comment and let me know what I should do, I’d appreciate it. (And please don’t pretend to be a professor of Public Health and tell me to dig it up and eat it. That would be very mean.)

This entry was posted in Environment, Health, Mark's Life, Other, Photographs, Science and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted June 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I found one in my backyard last week. I caught the dog rolling around on it’s corpse. He needed a serious bath afterwards. I though it was strange not having seen a dead bird on the property in the three years I’ve lived here. Your story gives me some pause.

  2. Posted June 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I found a dead baby bunny in my front yard, in the flower garden. It made me sad as my daughter and I had been watching it for a few days. We were looking at it, close up, and then we went inside and when I came back a few minutes later it was dead. I was really sad. I thought the bunny would live in the front yard, by the bushes and the flowers, and we could watch it grow old. I buried it in the backyard. But then a few weeks later I saw another baby bunny, alive as can be, and it hopped to the very same spot where the other one had been hanging out before it died. And I haven’t seen that one again.

    And Ded Bird would make a sweet band name.

  3. BornInYtown
    Posted June 6, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mean to frighten you, but I’ve been seeing quite a few dead birds lately, funny thing is, the same thought crossed my mind.

  4. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    West Nile’s feeling left out of the limelight lately, what with the Swine Flu sweeping the nation?

  5. Posted June 7, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Talking about West Nile, I’m pretty sure there is some gov’t office tracking dead bird sightings of some sort –

    Yep, here it is, report away folks!

  6. Mark
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Here’s another possibility… People are throwing dead birds into my yard, knowing that it would freak me out… That occurred to me in a dream last night.

  7. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    We get at least one dead bird every year. Maybe more. I think some of them hit the windows and fall down dead in the yard. Others, who knows? Just make sure you wait 1/2-hour after you see a dead bird before you kill again or you’ll get cramps in your killin’ hand.

  8. Posted June 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Don’t ever throw a dead bird over your fence into the neighboring brush, even if you’re wearing gloves. The spray of maggots will make you gag, even if none of them actually hit you.

  9. Posted June 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Should I consider this a confession, Sandy D? Are you the one pitching these ded birds at my house?

    And thanks for the link Nammeroo. I’ll check it out.

  10. Posted June 7, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Bird’s gotta die somewhere.

  11. Sam
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found a few dead birds around town lately as well as dead squirrels. Something is going on.

  12. degutails
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking that, statistically, the chances of you finding no dead birds in your yard for nine years and then two in one week are about even. There have probably been loads of dead birds in those nine years, anyway, but you haven’t noticed them.

  13. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Maybe some kids got new bb guns.

    Or, far more probable, a new bioweapon plague that’s going to wipe out the earth is starting here in Ypsi with birds and squirrels.

  14. West Cross
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I’m no bird expert but I know that it’s not uncommon to find dead birds around this time of year. Young birds falling out of nests too early and failed fliers. We have a next in our garage that usually yields one or two dead birds per year. They usually look full grown but obviously weren’t ready to leave the nest yet.
    Could be a bird set up a nest near your place this year, or they could be harbingers of the upcoming apocalypse, hard to say.

  15. jorj
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I bet the angry spirits of disappearing Honeybees are possessing the birds and making them fly into stuff.

  16. Matt W.
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Weird — I read your post last night, found a dead bird on my front lawn (Superior Twp) today.

  17. freewireless4all
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I bet the angry spirits of disappearing Honeybees are possessing the birds and making them fly into stuff.

    I found some honeybees, my stuff is safe.

  18. Posted June 8, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, at the very least I know I won’t die alone.

  19. Posted June 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    You probably didn’t spend that much time examining your lawn & alley before Clementine was a mobile child of five? four? Anyway, the more time outdoors, the more you get to observe the circle of life. I found a sad little ded chipping sparrow at the community garden the other evening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Sperm and Egg