Where are all the dead animals

Why we almost never see dead birds

Birds usually only live a few years. Why do you still see so few dead?

Hundreds of thousands of birds pass over our heads every spring and autumn; In the city and in the country thrush, finch and star live in our immediate neighborhood. And yet we rarely see a dead bird - mostly animals that have flown into window panes or were hit by cars on the street. Very few people have ever seen a bird that simply died of old age. Why actually? After all, birds are only buried in exceptional cases.

There are several reasons for this: On the one hand, most birds fall prey to predators before they have reached their maximum age. Like a bird of prey or a cat. In this case, nothing remains of the ball of feathers, which - like the domestic golden chicken - weighs only a few grams. Or just a couple of feathers.

Most end up in the stomachs of predators and scavengers

Animals that have had an accident or are dying, such as those caught in a windmill, also attract carnivores. "You know," says ornithologist Wolfgang Fiedler from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, "that a smaller bird can disappear completely within twelve hours on a warm day. Many old and sick animals that have hidden disappear in this way almost without a trace.

But chance and human powers of observation also play a role. "We provide storks with transmitters so that they can follow their flight routes," says Wolfgang Fiedler. "And I am always amazed when someone lies around dead for a week without being discovered. And yet it is a snow-white, large bird in the middle of the landscape."

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