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I swear, my backyard is like the Zone For Defective Wildlife.

In addition to the assorted not-overly-bright birds that take a header into the glass about once a day (although they generally fly away afterwards, looking dazed) and of course, Lumpy, we now have a Carolina wren with no tail. It's got a little asymmetrical feather stub, about a third as long as the normal run of Carolina wren tails, as if his tail feathers have been pulled out or snapped off in some fashion. (I thought originally he might be a fledgling, but it's got a definite sheared-off appearance.) Being a Carolina wren, he of course holds his tail nub in a very jaunty manner, which makes it even more tragic. I dubbed him "Stubby." Do tails grow back? I realize I don't know jack about birds and the permanence of feathers--I know they molt or something, but not when or how it works.

In other defective-wildlife news, Lumpy's left bot has popped, I think, because the fur has grown back over it, and the whole area looks less swollen. So presumably somewhere there's a nickel-sized botfly larvae burrowing or pupating or whatever it does, having finished its sojourn in Casa del Lumpy. The one on the right side, however, has not yet checked out, so Lumpy will remain Lumpy for a little while longer. (I dunno if I'll be able to recognize him afterwards, although he should have some pretty distinctive scars for a little while.)

Never a dull moment, really...

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Yeah, actually, tail feathers do grow back! (I've had parakeets for the majority of my life.) It's kindave like a lizards tail (kindave), and they come out quite easily if a predator's got them by a tail, or if -- like in my case -- someone's sister steps on the bird's tail. Sometimes they'll get irregular white mixed in with the new tail feathers (I think it's like people getting white hair, but I'm not sure), and they're extremely self-conscious about it (silly birds!), but he'll be back to normal in a matter of weeks!

I can't help thinking Lumpy and the other misshapen wildlife around your house would make a good painting. (A little gross maybe)

I once met a seagull with a split lower beak. Now THAT looked painful. I was on holiday in New Zealand, so I don't know what became of him, but I'm hoping it turned out well. I tried to feed him some soggy bread, and a lady came out of her information booth or whatever it was to warn me not to feed him anything hard, saying that kids had tried feeding him pebbles and such. (WTF is wrong with kids?!?)

It seemed she was looking out for the wee beastie, waiting for the beak to grow back together; I thought it seemed unlikely, since it seemed to have EXPLODED outward into two twists, but I know less of beaks than you do of feathers.

I can't watch your icon for very long. It just looks so...painful. ;)

Come to think of it, all this sounds remarkably like a book called Dystopia, by Dennis Jürgensen. It's probably never been translated to English, but at one point a bunch of bizarre mutant animals wander about. It's been a while since I read it, but I think they may have been stuffed, then come to life.

I've seen weirder things on eBay.

Feathers do grow back, but the original feather has to be entirely removed from the follicle for this to happen. Did the feathers look cut, or were they just missing? If they were cut, that means the bird won't grow the new feathers until he yanks out the old ones.

Oh, I could probably tell you a lot more about birds than you really wanted to know, but... the short form is that yes, *ALL* the feathers on his body will eventually be shed and regrown (molted).

However, for fairly obvious reasons, this doesn't happen all at once - sparing us the visual pain of an annual naked-bird season. In fact, it usually happens symmetrically. How often depends on the bird, weather, age, etc... but generally most feathers are changed out about once a year. So by spring, he should have a mostly complete hind end.

As long as the botflies don't get him! AHH!!!

HAH! I love it. When I started writing that - 0 comments. When I posted... I was 6th in line! Yoinks.

Never a dull moment, really...

I, for one, am glad of that. Work would be infinitely more boredom with your anecdotes about life at Maison d'Ursula.

The animals are diseased because you're a witch! A witch! Burn the witch before she makes phallic rocks again!! Burn her!

Dammit, where are my meds...

I was drinking hot cocoa when I read this...

Now I have to go get a paper towel to wipe it off my monitor.


I think by now we *all* ought to know better than to drink anything while reading this journal.

I know, I know. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking when I clicked the Comments link and brought the mug to my lips at the same time.

Close Encounters With Wildlife is going pretty well thusfar for me in college. There are three distinct instances of weirdities I've encountered, none of which while on any sort of hallucinogenic substance! Wow!

First was the hawk. This was before I even GOT to college--in fact, it was just as we were leaving. A magnificent sight, really. I'm just turning onto the ramp to I-95 with my mom, all my gear packed, when out of the hedge to the right erupts a huge, beautiful red-tailed hawk. "Holy crap, symbolism!" I cried. If it were a Disney movie, the hawk would have flown high over my truck, watching its course all the way to my destination, my new life, inspirational music playing and all. Instead it flew off to snack on some bunnies or something, but still, it's the gesture that counts.

Now in college, I've had numerous encounters with skinks. Apparently the little buggers are pretty common around here, but for whatever reason just an hour or two away in my hometown, there are practically no lizards outside peoples' collections. I think lizards are some of the cutest little buggers you could hope for, too, so it's filled me with delight and mild bemusement to see them in such quantities here. The other day, I came out of the back door of the dorm to find two tiny skinks, poised on opposite sides of the door, clinging precariously to the brick wall. Some friends soon joined me, and as the little lizards were poised parallel in the same direction, we encouraged them to race. It was a hilarious experience, except perhaps for the skinks, but who gives a skink about them?

The most recent, and by far the most weird encounter occurred last night, as some friends and I were sitting down for a night-long RP session. Jike (whose real name is John but there are already two other Johns in the group) was getting himself situated and set down the plastic grocery bag he'd been carrying full of goodies to fuel our trek. As he began to pull out a bag of chips, he jumped back, and a bat flew out of the bag. We made quite a few exclamations at that moment, but they can mostly be characterized by the letters W, T and F. Utterly stunned but also rather intrigued, we made it our task to recapture the bat flitting madly about the tiny conferance room. John, the DM, reached for the bag to use it as a net when, lo and behold, another bat flies out. At this point, we're all thinking we need to roll a sanity check.

Making sure that there were no more bats in the bag--and turning it inside-out, just to be safe--we set about the task of shooing the terrified little creatures out of the doubledoors. "C'mon, you've got echolocation, use it!" We were coaching them. It was among the most surreal experiences of my life. After a minute or two of flitting and bobbing around the ceiling, they'd get tuckered out and plop down on the floor, their bodies surprisingly flat but rather cute and fuzzy. We tried to place the bag over one, to no avail...but after five minutes or so of hooting and hollering, we managed to goad them out into the night air.

We were all feeling rather perplexed for the rest of the evening, but the adventure went without further incident. We would occasionally speculate, in hushed voices, as to how the hell two bats ended up in our snack bag--and Hell was definately one of our considerations. The best we could speculate was that when Jike had set down his bag for just a moment outside his dorm, the bats had slipped off the roof and by some fluke landed soundlessly in the open bag. Why two, though? Well, that would only make sense if they were both...embracing...

Alas, the notion of Bat Sex pretty much shut up that discussion. Needless to say, nobody touched the potato chips.

Oh man, that so made my day. Thanks for telling us!

*snerk* Glad you enjoyed it. I'll be certain to tell everyone else I meet. Just hope they don't think I have bats in the belfry. Or the bag, for that matter.

Yeah, tailfeathers should grow back, at least, they did on my cockatiel. For the first 6 months of her life she kept breaking all her tailfeathers off, and thusly earned the nickname of 'Stumpbutt.' Fortunately, they did grow back eventually.

That happened to my cockatiel. It was like he didn't know his tail feathers were there. I would cut them where they broke at and eventually he also had a stubby tail. Then he finally got the hang of it and now has a nice long tail.

Ditto, only it went along for a year or two for my 'Teil. When he finally learned how to land properly he stopped breaking the feathers and now has a quite handsome tail.

We have a squirrel with no tail in my back yard... dubbed "Stumpy". He looks like a pouncing cat most of the time, because the "body roll" leap of the squirrel, completed by the tail, has been cut short...

I thought he was a bunny for a while...

We also have "Silverback", a silver backed squirrel... duh! And Nightcap, a hooded squirrel. Mosly black squirrels around here though.

Heh... Stubby, Stumpy, and Lumpy. Sounds like the name of a twisted cartoon.

*rereads her comment and bursts out laughing* Ursula, PLEASE sketch a group pic of Stubby, Stumpy, and Lumpy. I swear, I will buy it off you.

Haha, we have an albino squirrel that frequently visits (or at least attempts to visit) our birdfeeder.

Ah, the distinctive thump of a bird hitting the window...That's when you know summer's really began.

*Snicker* Casa del Lumpy...

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