Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Blizzard of Os

Well, really ossa (plural of os, Latin for bone). All of these and more were along the shore of Little Chauncy Pond in Westboro. Raccoon skull, swan neck vertebrae and back, and swan wing bone. Note that the wing bone is hollow, with struts (those strands of bone that you can see just left of the center of the photo) for strength. Hollow bones are an important adaptation for flight. Also at Chauncy pond was a piece of muskrat skull, but I don't have a good photo.



  1. Interesting post, Janet. I particularly liked the third photo and its explanation. Should we start to worry about swans? You probably read about the sixteen that recently died at in Marlborough: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1896001178/State-investigating-deaths-of-16-swans-in-Westborough. Dan, how are the resident swans at Delaney faring these days?

  2. Apologies to all the blog readers. I was having some real trouble posting that comment!

  3. Delaney is 50% ice-free, and the birds are back by the dozens. I've seen at least six swans there, and that forced a pair of geese to take up residence in our backyard pond for an afternoon.

    Here's another interesting tale of local swan death:

  4. Wow! Who knew? I guess they've thrown in the towel on the exploding Canada goose population and are concentrating on easier targets. The influx of birds at Delaney sounds cool; I may have to pay a visit.

  5. Most of the birds are in the north basin, probably from the small "beaver lodge/swan kill" entrance off Eldridge Rd. Binoculars are definitely required - they're hanging out in the middle.

    Yesterday evening I took the dogs for a walk on the South side of Delaney, right at dusk. We had the whole place to ourselves. We walked right up on a red fox that was trying to catch a bird on the at the woods edge. I watched motionless while he checked me out, went back to hunting for a bit, and then circled around behind us, never more than 50 ft away. The dogs never saw or smelled a thing.

  6. Thanks for the lowdown on the birds. And the fox sighting sounds very cool. You never know what you might luck across at dusk. Too funny about the oblivious dogs; it reminds me of something out of a cartoon.