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Ants Devouring a Dead Baby Bird

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Published on May 3, 2012

I have no idea how this baby bird kicked the bucket. A couple nights ago we had severe weather in my area, and my guess is that the nest got shaken and stirred quite harshly, resulting in this chick plummeting to the driveway below.

My cat found it and brought it to me. I know, sweet, huh? She plopped it at my feet and trotted off, after which I grabbed a napkin, scooped it up and carted it off somewhere where she wouldn't find it.

Well, guess who DID find it? An ant colony. They don't seem too picky as to what's on the menu, be it dead bugs, maggots, or, if one drops out of the sky, a dead bird.

So, in this video, you can see the industrious ant colony devouring this poor little guy. I decided to just let 'em have it. Whether I tossed it over the fence in the neighbor's yard, or over under a pile of leaves in the compost pile, something will have ended up finding and devouring it, so, what was the point of moving it? So, I just left it where I found it, and went to find the camera.

I know there will be those who will cringe with disgust and tell me how awful of me to post such a video, and how would I like it if a pile of ants dismembered me piece-by-piece? Well, when I kick the bucket and am buried six feet under, I would venture to guess that the first subterranean creature will have discovered my cold dead body before the first shovelful of dirt was heaved upon my casket.

So, I am not worried what people will think. We're all gonna die at some point, and the natural laws of decomposition assume some lower life form will always find our carcass and make it an enormous feast. Ants, worms, what have you, will be dining and inviting all their friends.

So, no, I am not worried in the least about that some people will think I'm a terrible person for posting such a video.

In a weird irony, the baby bird in this video was also attracting the flies, as do all dead carcasses. These flies were pooping out little baby maggots smaller that the hyphen on this screen: - , which the ants were coming right along afterwards and scooping up for a mid-afternoon snack!

Some of the maggots were about the same size as the ants themselves. The slender white-ish things they're carrying around from time to time are maggots that they've either found while crawling around inside the birds' beak (seen quite prominently in an open position in the center of the screen for most of the video), or which have managed to themselves crawl out of the dead carcass.

One squirming maggot can be seen being carried around quite proudly by one ant at about 3:00 - 3:18, until they both disappear at the bottom of the screen.

Beginning at about 2:48, if you look at the dead birds' throat area, to the left of its open beak, you can see its' "skin" actually moving. This movement is caused by a wiggling maggot rummaging around on the inside! Pretty gross, huh?

Some of the other white things being carried to and fro are individual tiny feathers. The ants seems to have little use for these, as I saw several drop off their feathers a short walk away before returning to the bird.

Other ants seem a bit confused, walking in circles. Those are the ones with faulty GPS units. Apparently none of the ants seem bothered in the least that the bird stunk to high heaven. Fortunately it was a rather breezy day or I'd have fallen over myself from the stench.

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