I was out on a Bramley Bimble a couple of days ago and came across a sad little find. Just by the public footpath in the Frith woods is a bridge under which the kids love to play trolls, but as they were playing I spotted some feathers and called them over – not much stops my kids from playing trolls but the mention of a dead bird got them moving.
I was unsure at first what it was (I thought it was a bird of prey) so just took a couple of pictures and left it there. I put a picture (the one above) up on Facebook and Pablo from Woodlife Trails identified it as a Tawny Owl.
I went back to the site tonight and carefully collected up as many of the bones and feathers as I could find. The owl had pretty much decomposed but I did find the majority of the bones. They were in two piles so something had been along and had a nibble but had not totally destroyed the skeleton.
There were not many feathers left but I did manage to salvage some good ones. These ones will end up on an atlatl shaft one day.
The pads and talons were still attached to the leg bones so were easy to find but when I looked at the skull more closely I noticed damage. The beak was twisted to one side so whatever animal tried to eat it must have chewed the head a bit before giving up.
Below are some close ups of the talons, still looking razor sharp, and the small picture at the top right is all that was left of the spine and the hips.
I have no idea how the bird died but it was great to find it and in such good condition.