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Five cool things I've found on walks


I usually write here about the bones I find, but sometimes I also find other interesting things that I bring back home. I've written before about finding old poison bottles, shell cases, feathers and shells, and recently I've found more cool stuff.

The first one is a bit of a puzzle. I know what it is, what animal it is from, but I can't work out how it got there, so I need your help to figure it out !

The cow hoof

A few weeks dad and I went up to explore the woods around an ancient farm on the moor. The farmhouse and shed had been derelict for about 100 years and not much was left. Dad went up by himself the next day to photograph the ruins, and came across this. I must have passed it the day before but neither of us noticed it then.

The first bit was easy. I knew it was a hoof, and it must have come from a cow as it was the only animal with cloven (split) hooves that were this size. Here is it next to a red deer hoof and a roe deer hoof to show the size:

The puzzle was not what it was from, but how it got there. The wire was trapped in a crack at the top of the hoof and went down through the base of the foot. It took dad ages to work it free.

So what happened ? Did the cow get its hoof stuck on the wire and have to pull off the hoof to get free ? But that would have been really really painful and there isn't any blood on the hoof. And if the farmer had found it like that, then he would have just cut the fence wire ?

Did the cow die elsewhere and the hoof was moved afterwards ? But how did it get stuck on the wire so hard ? I don't know.

The nest

Dad found this bird nest about a month ago, when my leg was broken. We could not ID it until Mrs. Ford, a VERY kind 79 year-old woman, who drove about 400 miles just to see me. Anyway she said it was a wren, but I personally think that it might be a robin.

It was made out of long, dead grass, moss and lichen and was very messy. It was blown out of the tree and there where no eggs so it is hard to tell what it is. There was a feather on the side, but it was hard to say whether this came from the bird that built it or whether it was collected to line the nest.

The Clays 

A while back me and dad found these when exploring a new wood. Hundreds were scattered all over the ground, some in bits, some not:

Clays are something that you can use to practice firing a shotgun. A device shoots them flying in to the air and you have to shoot them. The way they are fired and the size of them are used to practice shooting different types of birds, and sometimes ones are fired to roll along the ground to practice shooting rabbits. This is one of the towers that they were fired from:

I got one each of every different size I could find. They look like upside down plates and feel fragile and chalky.

The propeller 

I found this propeller when I was on a walk with dad and my brothers on banks of the biggest river that goes through my village. When I first found it it was crusted with dirt and rust. It took a bit of cleaning but now its clean. I think it might be from an outboard boat engine, but the only problem is that the river is to shallow for boats, so I also think it might be from a plough. Dad said it might have come from some kind of water pump as well. It looks like a old, rusty propeller with 3 blades at a angle. 

The scratching post 

This post was in a field near Quoiggs wood. The odd thing was at the top. It looked like a dry red moss.

The moss was actually fur. I think this was a scratching post for roe deer. Roe deer change coats in the summer, where their grey winter coat changes to a brighter red. You can sometimes see roe deer with both coats, like this one I saw in June.

The post might be so their old coat comes off, or it might be a scratching post for when deer get flea or midge bites.
Have you every found anything cool on a walk ?

Enjoy this post ? Share it !


JonnieF said...

The feathers in the nest are off a Pheasant, and that's definitely not the nest-owner!!

Jake said...

Ha ! I should of realised because I wrote about the same feathers in one of my previous posts ! http://www.jakes-bones.com/2010/09/other-things-ive-found-in-woods.html

Psydrache said...

The birds nest looks very awesome. It's amazing what such small birds can do. The cow hoof is also adorable.

Christine Sutcliffe said...

The hoof's location really is bizarre! Had it been smaller, like a calf's I would have wondered if perhaps it had been taken by a fox and dragged past it or something but that doesn't really make much sense. XD

Kate O.H. said...

My best guess about the hoof is that long after the animal died, (but not so long as to lose the smell that would attract scavengers), there may have been a little bit of flesh or bone left and a scavenger might have tried to carry it off through the fence, but the hoof got stuck and the animal had to leave it there... It might have also carried it off because there might have been bugs or other small critters living inside that the scavenger wanted to eat? That could explain why it was in a weird location so many years after the animal died... I don't know though, it might not be anything like that at all!

I love finding things on walks! Obviously bones are my favorite because I live in a mostly urban area where most of the dead animals are A. small, and B. taken away by animal control or eaten by a bigger animal before I get to them. But I will often come across fallen bird's nests in my neighborhood and at some of the larger parks. I think he currently have three or four nests, including one hanging nest made mostly of moss that my mom found at her old workplace. It was cute, because the birds had used a lot of toilet paper to line the nest! I'm not sure how they got it, though. Ah well. Just another mystery...

(Speaking of mystery, I once found an entire fawn skeleton while at my family's rural island cabin. I didn't have any way to carry it back with me and it still had some flesh on it. I came back later that day with a bucket and gloves, but it was gone. Nobody else was up there with us other than the neighbors there who have a dog, which I found chewing on one of the fawn's legs, but I looked and looked ALL OVER the island and I never found the rest of that fawn... It might still be out there, who knows?)

emilytess said...

Hi Jake! Your blog is amazing!! I have a question for you - I found my first bones during a beach hike on the Washington State coast - a whale vertebrae, some baleen (not sure if that's a bone), some kind of bird skull, and an elk skull. The whale bones were extremely smelly and have lots of dead tissue on them, and so I dropped all of the bones in a bucket of diluted bleach overnight before I came across your blog. Now I see that using bleach to clean bones is really bad! I pulled them out and put them in the garden, but what do I do now? I'm worried that I ruined them with the bleach, and now they will be weak and bugs won't come help me clean them because of the bleach smell. Please help!

Jake said...

If the bones are big and the bleach was diluted I wouldn't worry too much, but rinse the bones down well. The dead tissue will eventually come off, but may take longer because the bacteria will have been killed by the bleach. Simmering or masceration might help; whale bones will probably have a lot of fat inside, so simmering with biological washing powder will help for them. Hope this helps !

Jake said...

My best guess is the cow caught its hoof on the wire, then pulled its own hoof off trying to escape.
A lot of my deer skeleton's get lost, moved by foxes. I went back to look for this roe deer body: http://www.jakes-bones.com/2013/03/my-dads-good-deed-that-didnt-end-well.html - and only the lower jaws were left. I couldn't find the rest !

Jake said...

I wonder if it got the hoof caught then pulled it off itself trying to escape. Nasty !

Jake said...

It was a lucky find !

Jake said...

Maybe not lucky for the cow, though.

Betta132 said...

I have a note about that nest; Robins use a lot of mud in their nests and the nest will be around 5-6 inches (10-12-ish centimeters) across. I'm going to say it likely is a wren, since there isn't any mud that I can see and it looks smaller. In some robin nests it almost looks like a clay bowl with grass in it.

bex59 said...

I just came across your site this evening. I live in Northern California, USA. My dog and I walk along vineyards and at night, lately, there have been foxes and coyotes howling, yipping and otherwise vocalizing! I found part of a bone today; from your site and a model of a canine pelvis I came across online I think it is a femur, perhaps from a fox. I think it is really cool that you collect bones and have learned so much early in life! I do find interesting things on walks...bits and pieces of things that I often ask my husband to identify. There have been times when I have asked, "What's this?" and plopped something in his hand or dangled something before his eyes. He'd declare, "Garbage!" Garbage to some, treasure to others, perhaps. I am a fan of art from found objects. I have made a number of mobiles. I like them but pretty much they are still garbage on string! Thanks for the inspiration to collect bones. I don't think I will find many, but I have found bones from a dog that was hit by a car. I took a piece of the skull to the vet and asked him what kind of dog it might be from. He seemed a bit startled and recoiled a bit. It was some flat-faced breed was his opinion. I think it was a Shitzu.

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