The wire mesh was so no predators could drag it away or tear the tights. It was held together with cable ties. This is me cutting the tights inside after I opened it up.
This didn't look like a good sign for starters. I prefer it when bodies are in nice clean white bones, just like the other buzzard skeleton I found.
The reason the body hadn't reduced much in size was because of the wings, which had retained shape. With a lot of animals, the hooves, claw sheaths and horns remain even after the body is skeletonised, and feathers are made of the same substance (which also makes out hair and fingernails). The feathers kept the original shape they were round the body.
This is the buzzard skull. There wasn't much soft tissue but it wasn't as clean as I would have ideally liked either.
The body was not as bad as it looked. This wasn't really soft tissue, but a mixture of muck and feathers. I just had to feel through with my fingertips.
I had to be extra careful that I got all the bones out:
I moved the bones over to one side. These would definitely need cleaning.
It was really gross but fun when I was picking apart the body:
I put all of the bones I found in to a tub so I don't lose them:
Anything I thought was not bone I put in a carrier bag to keep just in case it turned out I had missed anything important.
After the first wash, I filtered the bones out. This was the colour of the water:
Then I laid the bones out to dry on a tray covered with kitchen roll for several days in my room.
One very interesting thing I noticed was this damage to the sternum, which is the bit on the front of the chest cavity. This is how it would be seen from inside the chest cavity, held against the light. The ribs attach along the long sides, but on the right hand side of the sternum (at the top) is rehealed damage, and the top right in the photo is much thicker (darker) than the rest, The hole at the top right is also not there. These were injuries or illness that didn't happen at death, but a long time before.
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