Bad day for birds…and suckers

Bad morning for birds

It was a bad morning for birds. Found this little guy hanging upside down in a tree near the staff house, his wiry orange feet still clutching the branch, his beak dripping icicles,  his feathers coated with  snow and his eyes frozen in an icy orange stare. 

What an improbable occurrence.  I never would have believed this could happen, but there it was right before my eyes.  No wonder birds should fly south, I thought, as I snapped a quick photo of his frozen, upside-down corpse hanging from the tree.

I told a few people when I came into the lodge about the interesting sight I’d seen. They also had no idea that birds could come to such a disastrous ending on an icy winter’s day.  It wasn’t until I told Andy and Adde about it that doubts started to creep in.  “We don’t have that kind of bird up here,” said Andy.  “Um, I think I know something about that bird,” said Adde. “I hate to tell you this, but…” 

Seems that Daryl, a bit of a prankster, wired that fake bird into the tree long ago. Today’s icicles were a new effect, but I’ve probably passed that pitiful bird in the tree dozens of times.

Bob said, “You believed it was real?”  Yes…nodding sheepishly.  “You didn’t SEE where the bird is wired to the branch?”  Well, I see it all clearly in the photo now, but I was so taken in by the poor bird’s tragic ending that I missed the reality piece.

Add this to new things I’ve learned in my move to the Gunflint Trail:  Birds do not really freeze upside down on branches during icy weather.

It’s been suggested that the frozen fake birdie corpse be used as an ornament when we put up the holiday tree.  I think we will do that.   Maybe if we wire it in there just right, somebody else will get suckered into believing the bird’s heartbreaking story. 

4 thoughts on “Bad day for birds…and suckers

  1. Sue McD


    Well, actually real birds do occasionally freeze on a branch. This happens to species such as Gray Jay which have their young early in the spring. The downy, but larger chicks leave the nest and stand nearby on a branch. They are not able to receive the full benefit of the adults’ warmth in a late spring rain/snow storm, and have been found frozen and upright. Usually predators pick these off before humans take notice, however.

    (Then, there are the Northern Shrike, which intentionally impale their prey, including birds, on sharp branches, and are found in Cook County, too.)

    Really enjoy your blog!


  2. Yes! That makes me feel much less foolish. I actually had a vague piece of knowledge in some backwater of my brain that the frozen bird on the branch was feasible. Just not upside down,wired to a branch and made of styrofoam and chicken feathers.

  3. Ms. Tami Arvig's Class

    Wow!! That’s funny. Nice trick! That’s probably the best trick we’ve ever seen. Sounds hilarious. We’ve also admired the beautiful pictures you’ve taken! We want to come live there, too. 🙂 We like the bear on top of the piano. Good luck!!

  4. That bird was made of styrofoam and chicken feathers?!? Wow. Now I really feel taken. I thought, well, at least it’s a real bird. They just got me when they wired it, upside-down, to a branch. That’s not so bad.

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