There’s something incredibly poignant about a dead bird. Birds in life seem to be perpetually moving – their eyes darting around in search of dangers or food, feathers constantly being ruffled, feet shuffling on perches, wings flapping in the air. Even when they are asleep, their downy chests visibly rise and fall with the rhythm of respiration.
As a result, to see a bird so still, and so quiet, is strange as well as sad. Especially when the bird is as young as the chick pictured here. And yet: there is also a sense of peace about this picture, the curvature of the little beak suggesting, perhaps, the hint of a smile. For this tiny bird, at least, the struggles of survival are over.
Image: Rachael Inman
It doesn’t take long for a bird carcass to disintegrate. Birds carry little fat on their bodies, which are, of course, designed to fly and sometimes float on water. Then there is the fact that their bones are light and hollow. It is this delicate anatomy that leads to them decaying so quickly. This little bird is well on its way.