Date: 10/9/19 10:07 am
From: Steve Long <steve.long4...>
Subject: Re: [MDBirding] Bird Bath Story ... not a happy ending
Jim,

I am guessing that your bird bath is not unusually heavy for a concrete
version, so I am surprised that a possum could not work its way out from
under it, unless the possum was injured or killed by the bath hitting
it.  Perhaps it was knocked unconscious, or even knocked dead by being
hit on the head with a concrete bird bath?

I had a similar story decades ago, when a tree that had held a flicker
house (which later was chewed open to become a squirrel house), fell
such that the entrance to the house was buried in  a dense holly bush. 
That happened on a Thursday night thunderstorm, and I did not get to
dealing with it until Saturday morning.  I was surprised to see the bird
house still intact.  I was not surprised to see some fluffy white stuff
inside the bird house when I opened it, first thinking that it was mold
on decaying nest material.  But, I was very surprised when that turned
out to be 4 baby Screech Owlets, who were very hungry because the
parents had not been able to get into the box.  After several days of
feeding the owlets quartered mice several times each day, I found
somebody on the lower Shore that would "hack them out", which she did
successfully.  So, the owlets ended-up better off than your possum.

But, the lesson for me from both events is that, as soon as I notice
something has gone wrong with anything I have provided for the benefit
of wildlife, I check it out immediately, even if I don't have time to
fix it when I notice it.

Steve Long, Oxford

On 10/9/2019 8:46 AM, James Wilson wrote:
> I have 3 water features for the birds and for anyone else that needs a
> drink.  One is the standard concrete bird bath. When I awoke on
> Saturday morning, I noticed that it was laying upside down on the
> ground near its stand.  I figured that some animal had stopped by for
> a drink during the night and knocked it off the pedestal.  Saturday
> and Sunday were busy so it was not until Monday morning when I got out
> the scrub brush and soap to clean it up.
>
> When I flipped it over I was startled (to put it mildly) to find a
> dead possum.  Somehow it had managed to flip the basin off the
> pedestal and get trapped under it.  I could not see that it had been
> crushed in any way and there was evidence that it tried to dig out.
>
> Most upsetting.
>
> Jim Wilson
> Queenstown
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