[Tweeters] The Guts of Natural History

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Apr 3 12:57:29 PDT 2014

I've been reading Robert Pyle's excellent (as they all are) book, Sky Time in Gray's River, wherein he find a newly deceased Band-tailed Pigeon on his compost pile one day, and in the process of cleaning it (yup, he ate it) talked about opening up it's guts to see what it had been up to. Acorns.
That reminded me of the one thing I really miss about fishing, which I haven't done any of since I was a kid, is cleaning fish. I really enjoyed cleaning fish (pretty much all trout), because then I could open up their stomachs and find out what they were eating, which in the trouts case, is quite a variety of bugs, etc. Very interesting.
Hey, I'm no sportsman, and I wasn't looking for clues for what new fly's to tie for my fly-fishing rig. Just a curious young naturalist. While I admire the skills of the accomplished fisherperson or hunter,my own lazy inclination would be the easiest method - a snare, net, roadkill etc; whatever gets me something to eat, which in my view would be the only reason fish or hunt in the first place. Duck hunting with noisy ol' shotguns and wet stinky dogs? Forget that! Catch and release fishing? Whatever. I like the ol' Indian method of setting out big nets , or ropes strung out across an inlet, to let the ducks catch themselves. Of course you're not supposed to net, or snare most critters anymore, with exceptions. Like most modern omnivores, I get my meat from other providers.
Back to guts. I guess I'm a bit envious of all those hunters and biologists who get to dabble in all those guts, because like I said, you can find out a lot. I've always enjoyed reading the older ornithology books, like Bent's Natural Histories, because of the interesting things they found in bird stomachs. I guess if your'e gonna make a study skin, you should at least check the guts for valuable info so everybody else doesn't have to go out bird-blasting. Did you know that in one Common Nighthawk stomach, 2,175 ants were found? I read about it.
Now, I'm not promoting going out and shooting, trapping, hooking, or running over various creatures with your car, just to check their guts out, but if you come across something, you might check it out. A very sharp knife, and latex gloves, and maybe a hand lens, would be good tools for an amateur NSI (Natural Scene Investigator). Write down the examination results in your journal so you don't forget.
Guts- all animals have 'em. No Guts, no Glory, as they say.
Jeff GibsonMudville MSI,Everett Wa

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