[Tweeters] Weird in Texas

L Markoff canyoneaglej at gmail.com
Sat May 18 06:15:29 PDT 2013

This is a not uncommon sight both when I lived in Virginia and here in
Texas. There are several theories about why it happens, including feather
mites. It is most common in Blue Jays and Cardinals, but as Jeff reports,
it can happen in other species as well. The "Little Gray Bird" Jeff speaks
of may have been a Carolina Chickadee as he says, but other
possibilities in Hill Country would be Black-crested Titmouse or Bushtit.
Cheers, Lori Markoff
Austin, TX...moving to Eugene, OR if all goes as planned

On Fri, May 17, 2013 at 11:56 PM, jeff gibson <gibsondesign at msn.com> wrote:

> Looking through my field notes from a recent trip to Texas, I came

> across something I'd already forgotten about that was truly weird.


> I was up early one morning snooping around a birdy tree-lined field, when

> I spotted a Little Gray Bird actively working through the shrubbery, and

> low-hanging Pecan branches. The bird was remarkable because it didn't have

> a head! Of course, being active and all, it really did have a head, but the

> head was completely featherless from the neck up - the head was so tiny

> without feathers it was amazing, hardly even noticeable at first glance.

> The head looked about the size of a pea!


> If you've ever seen an owl skull , for example, you know just how much

> feathers disguise a birds anatomy. An owls beak is considerably larger than

> the tip that we typically see sticking out of all their fluff.


> Without head feathers, the head on this little bird looked like an eyeball

> with a beak attached and not much more. It had to be the most bizarre bird

> sight I've ever had.


> I never did figure out what the bird was- probably a Carolina Chickadee,

> which were pretty common in the area - it was mostly gray and nondescript

> from the neck down. I was so shocked by it's headless appearance I missed

> other critical details. It was quiet, but otherwise seemed pretty perky as

> it hunted through the trees and bushes.


> I presume the bird had some sort of disease or bug that caused this. The

> only thing I've ever seen that came close to this was a Crow on the Everett

> waterfront last year which had a completely bare neck, but otherwise seemed

> OK. That was weird too, but the little gray Texan won the Strange Stuff

> Award in my book.


> Jeff Gibson

> Deep in the Heart of

> Everett Wa


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