Welcome to a true bird mystery, a true-crime-inspired series. Hints will be mixed throughout this post, so use your best talonts to solve this riddle!
This introduction to "A True Bird Mystery" will likely be the easiest of the series. If you want to continue to be challenged, Join Us, SherLARK Holmes! (That was not a clue.)
Where should you look for clues? Everywhere. Weird word choices, unusual phrases, consider contextual clues. Look for anything out of the ordinary with the rest of the story!
When writing an article with the intention of creating mystery, one must ask themself, "How do I start?" Of course, I can use the device of asking the question, as I just did. Then I can admit to using it. I probably should not sing like a canary and offer such an illuminating peek into my writing style.
To solve a mystery, we often must try to place ourselves in the shoes of the subject. I would say close your eyes and imagine, but then you could no longer follow along. Instead, imagine your eyes closed. You are a bird. You can fly almost anywhere. So where would you find yourself? Or specifically, where would this bird find itself...
Fly with me
You turn your head, what is that? A saguaro? There is a blast of heat. Suddenly, you are seemingly transported, and a rustle amongst a blanket of pure white snow draws your attention to a different location. You turn to hear it better. You are surrounded by trees. Coniferous? Deciduous? Both?
You continue turning your head to take in your surroundings. Time has flashed forward. Leaves appear to be turning yellow and orange. You feel a swelling in your netherregion. You must proclaim yourself to the world! You inhale, you prepare to let your sound out, here it comes, your call…
An out of Body experience Unlike any BefOre
You have returned to your chair. Or porcelain throne, if you’re reading this on the toilet. Real-life horned into our story while we were placing ourselves as the mysterious subject. There is no need for concern; we can surely comb through the provided clues to put us in a great position to pounce on our quarry: the answer.
NOTE: You are walking into the spoiler sections. If you scroll further, there are clues that will make the answer easier until it is revealed at the bottom. If you are ready for the answer without further help, leave your guess in the comments at the bottom of the page, and check your guess against the revealed photo from above!
A summary of clues
Talonts - notice I spelled talents incorrectly with ‘talon.’ This likely helped you narrow our subject down to a raptor IF you noticed this clue.
Not sing like a canary - This clue reinforces the idea that our subject is not a passerine (aka songbird).
Illuminating peek - Our subject has the capability of seeing in even dim situations
Saguaro, snow, coniferous forest, deciduous forest - Our subject clearly can be found in a large variety of habitats.
The continuous head turning back and forth may also provide a subtle clue.
Proclaiming and calling in autumn is a major clue to narrow down our selection.
Notice the capitals (B-U-B-O) that are out of place - This weird term is a great one for looking up...
Horned - A clue to narrow down our subject further?
Comb - This clue is a feature that allows our subject to move silently.
Pounce - Perhaps our subject prefers this style of hunting?
Who our subject is - Our subject is known for making a similar sound
Mystery still too great - Great, along with another clue, narrows down our subject to species.
Unusual capitals strike again while determining our mystery bird. Read the paragraph above the "NOTE" again if you did not catch it.
Silent as spring
Hidden at night
Nest are stolen
Gone by first light
Orbs of yellow
Fixed in place
With a curved bill
Rodents, no safe space
FINAL HINT: Check out this article.
SPOILER: The answer is below!
The mystery solved, a Great Horned Owl
Learn about the basis for the clues
Talons - Owls, like most predatory raptors, have long, curved claws called talons.
Not sing like a canary - Owls, while they do "sing" are not classified in the songbird order, Passeriformes. Instead, they are in the owl order, Strigiformes.
Illuminating peek - Owls have far more rods than humans, which allows them to capture and utilize more light at nighttime for seeing in the dark. However, this nocturnal vision is limited to grayscale.
Saguaro, snow, coniferous forest, deciduous forest - The Great Horned Owl is found in almost every habitat type in the Western Hemisphere.
Owls can turn their heads over 180 degrees!
Male Great Horned Owls begin defending territory in autumn.
Bubo is the genus of the Great Horned Owl.
The Great Horned Owl's "horns" are actually neither horns nor ears. They are feathers, sometimes called plumicorns!
The leading edge of many flight feathers in owls has a comb-like edge to them, allowing for silent flight.
Great Horned Owls are perch-and-pounce hunters!
While the Great Horned Owl does hoot, not all owls do!
The Great Horned Owl is one of our largest owls.
What did you think? Enjoy this idea? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! Share the guesses you formed as you read!
Want more tips on birds, feeding birds, identifying birds, wildlife safety, and more?? Join our site, join us on Flocking YouTube, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and Twitter, and visit our Amazon Storefront.