Bird On A Wire?

With the last votes being counted at great speed by inky-fingered civil servants, you’d reasonably expect today’s topic of conversation to be Tony Blair and his prospects for the next four years. But no, the subject that’s gnawing at me today is…old birds. For the past couple of years I’ve had a question that no-one has been able to answer for me: ‘Where do old birds go?’

You see rheumy-eyed old dogs, cats with wooden legs, patchy-haired horses and knackered rabbits but when do you ever see an old bird? They fly in formation, they peck around in packs – all in the peak of physical fitness. You never see a pigeon with heart problems or a gammy hip. The only time you see a bird that would fail a late fitness test is if it has been involved in an RTA. So why is it? Even Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, agrees with me. Here’s a line from ‘Birds’ of the ‘Songs From The West Coast’ album. ‘How come birds don’t fall from the sky when they die? How come birds always look for a quiet place to hide?’

So, although there may be some slightly more important issues to discuss, I just throw out this query. Where. Do. Old. Birds…Go?

3 replies
  1. Karl Bedingfield
    Karl Bedingfield says:

    Yahoo via Google solves the puzzle!

    ‘Birds, like many other creatures, will seek secluded, out-of-the way places when they’re feeling sick. Sometimes, rest and seclusion help them heal. But if they die, very often they won’t be found in their hideouts.

    Of course, in nature, things work in a strange tandem. Predators, like cats and foxes, can usually seek out these hideouts for prey. And often, these predators will take the prey back to feed their young, which is why it’s so rare to find the remains of dead birds.’

  2. John Glover
    John Glover says:

    But Martin, baby birds are all around us. Ducklings, chicks, goslings and er…eggs are everywhere. Where are the arthritic, hobbling aviators which elude me?

  3. Martin
    Martin says:

    Hmmm, kind of similar to the ‘why don’t you see baby birds around’? I’d guess the old ones just go off and die somewhere. Perhaps you should ask the ‘Notes & Queries’ column in the Guardian, I’m sure someone would come up with an answer.

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