An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Two Songbirds And A Mouse

3-9-18 mystery photo2 049A1842

Two different kinds of signs — droppings and incisor marks – reveal the inhabitants of a woodshed during a very cold spell. The partially-eaten, shelled acorns have tiny grooves in them (difficult to see well in photo, my apologies), made by the incisors of a very small rodent, likely a White-footed Mouse or a Deer Mouse (the animals, much less their signs, are extremely difficult to tell apart, even if both species are sitting in front of you).

The two remaining signs are droppings from birds that sought shelter overnight inside the shed. Mourning Doves have very distinctive scat — individual round droppings, each about 1/4″ in diameter, consisting of coils of dark, solid waste which sometimes have a dollop of white uric acid on top.

The third and last sign is also bird droppings, but unlike the Mourning Dove’s, these are white and log-like. If you’ve been inundated with Dark-eyed Juncos this winter, you should be able to find these on the ground where they congregate.

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11 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Waking up, iPad …looked at weather…chilly…Nat. grid map….so many outages…many will be cold, and craving a hot drink & warm food… without power, again…so sad….”Two Songbirds and a Mouse”….I thought this was a new story…until I realized it was the Mystery Photo! With your explanations, Mary…I’m on my way to becoming a ‘Poopologist’ 😹 Animal signs are very interesting….thank you!

    March 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

    • Alice, your comments are such an addition to my blog !

      March 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm

  2. Very cool! So… did the mice bring those acorns in there, shell them? I guess they must have, but it never occurred to me that mice would/could do that.
    Thanks again, Mary!

    March 9, 2018 at 8:43 am

  3. Bill On The Hill...

    Great post once again Mary… Those small chocolate colored morsels are what had me scratching my head!
    Dove scat, who’d of thunk…
    A most pleasant way to start my day.
    Thank you Mary.
    Bill Farr… 🙂

    March 9, 2018 at 8:47 am

    • Love your contributions to my blog, Bill. Much appreciated!

      March 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm

  4. Bill On The Hill...

    I just wanted to add that in the original Mystery Photo post, the winner of the ” Bird Poop Award ” goes to Kathie Fiveash, with her Mourning Dove proclamation, congratulations!
    Bill Farr…

    March 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

    • Thanks, Bill, for acknowledging Kathie’s excellent recognition skills!!!

      March 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm

  5. Really liked this exercise. Also I want to give a shout-out to your new bear book–excellent photos and loved the smaller details: i.e.what they eat, “baby-sitting tree” and black bear signs.

    March 9, 2018 at 9:01 am

    • Thanks so much, Barbara. Observing them orobably tips my list of favorite wildlife experiences.

      March 9, 2018 at 6:50 pm

  6. Alice Pratt

    I read “Yodel” to my daughter & grand-daughter, an hour ago! Bears have such big paws. Awesome book! Wonderful photos!

    March 9, 2018 at 1:26 pm

  7. Char Delabar

    >

    March 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

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