Mickey Alice Kwapis

taxidermy & craft

GARDENS, NESTS, AND OTHER THINGS

Fair warning: this post is not for the squeamish.

After leaving Portland I spent a night visiting family in Battle Ground, Washington. I stayed with my third cousin Michael and his wife Gail (and their awesome Golden Retriever, Mac) on their nine-acre tree farm. Their home and their garden are absolutely beautiful, and I couldn’t resist taking some photos.

After I got done outside, I remembered that Gail had mentioned a nest of baby birds that could be seen from inside their living room window. I didn’t realize that the nest was only a foot away from the glass, so I was able to get some really great photos. There are at least two babies in the nest, and they’re very active.

Notice anything weird about these photos? I didn’t at first… but then I saw a dead baby bird hanging from something sort of near the nest on the right side of the frame. Can you see it now? After I spotted it, I used my zoom lens to see a bit better.

At first I thought that the bird was somehow impaled with a stick or a vine from the trellis the nest was built on. It’s clearly a skinny black… thing, stuck down the bird’s throat. Then I looked closer - it’s actually a snake! I’m not sure how well it shows up in the photo, but when I was actually there looking at it, it was definitely a snake.

I’m obviously hypothesizing here, but I think what happened is that a small snake got into the nest and got a hold of one of the baby robins. The robin, likely thinking the snake was some sort of worm, chomped down on the snake. In the meantime, it looks like the snake probably chomped down on the bird from the inside, and then both animals perished. If you look directly to the right of the bird’s hanging body, you can see the snake’s tail covered in ants, which are now devouring it. The snake is wrapped around a vine, so now both bodies are intertwined and slowly beginning to mummify together.

I've never seen something so sad and so interesting in the wild. Both of these animals were trying to eat and they both ended up dying. The whole thing is probably twenty feet from the ground so they'll likely stay there until they both decay completely.

Mickey Alice Kwapis is a Chicago-based taxidermist, jeweler, and person who does a lot of stuff. All site content ©2011-2017 Mickey Alice Kwapis and Niche Lab LLC. Questions? Use the contact form.