[CT Birds] "frozen" birds

Russ Smiley arsmiley at comcast.net
Tue Apr 3 22:39:45 EDT 2012

Back in the 1970s I had a job on a farm. One winter day after a frigid night
I had to work under a grove of young white pines.  I remember there were
blackbirds, probably starlings, that were dead, eyes closed, frozen in their
perches on the branches that were within reach from the ground.

Jump ahead to last Friday afternoon. I went to Chatfield Hollow in search of
pine warblers.  Shortly after the entry road crosses a small brook there is
a clearing to the right surrounded by a variety of evergreens.  At the far
side of the clearing, I saw a couple round, yellow objects high up in trees
that I think are tamaracks. I quickly took a few pictures thinking they were
birds about to fly. However, the objects never moved. I then assumed they
were some infection or fungus in the tree and resumed my search for warblers
around the clearing and on the boardwalk. About an hour later, I left the
park the same way I entered, and I saw the yellow objects were still in the
trees.  Later I looked at the pictures that I downloaded to the computer. I
saw tails and beaks on the objects. I now think were actually goldfinches
that had died in the trees and were round due to bloating.  (Either that or
someone with a cherrypicker and a key to the gate pulled off a very clever
April fools prank.)

Russ Smiley
Marlborough, CT

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