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A True Bird Mystery: Chapter 1 - A Silent Introduction

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!

A bird photo shrouded in mystery.
What bird could it be?!

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.)

Want to watch the video version, instead? Check it out on YouTube! And please subscribe to our channel!

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!

A beginning

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.


Have you determined whO our subject is? Or is the mystery still too great? If you prefer to jump to the ansWer, click here. If you want to review the List of clues, click here.

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

  1. Talonts - notice I spelled talents incorrectly with ‘talon.’ This likely helped you narrow our subject down to a raptor IF you noticed this clue.

  2. Not sing like a canary - This clue reinforces the idea that our subject is not a passerine (aka songbird).

  3. Illuminating peek - Our subject has the capability of seeing in even dim situations

  4. Saguaro, snow, coniferous forest, deciduous forest - Our subject clearly can be found in a large variety of habitats.

  5. The continuous head turning back and forth may also provide a subtle clue.

  6. Proclaiming and calling in autumn is a major clue to narrow down our selection.

  7. Notice the capitals (B-U-B-O) that are out of place - This weird term is a great one for looking up...

  8. Horned - A clue to narrow down our subject further?

  9. Comb - This clue is a feature that allows our subject to move silently.

  10. Pounce - Perhaps our subject prefers this style of hunting?

  11. Who our subject is - Our subject is known for making a similar sound

  12. Mystery still too great - Great, along with another clue, narrows down our subject to species.

  13. Unusual capitals strike again while determining our mystery bird. Read the paragraph above the "NOTE" again if you did not catch it.

Easy riddles

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

SPOILER: The answer is below!

The mystery solved, a Great Horned Owl

A young Great Horned Owl sits in a tree.
Revealed - Our mystery is the Great Horned Owl!

Learn about the basis for the clues

  1. Talons - Owls, like most predatory raptors, have long, curved claws called talons.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Saguaro, snow, coniferous forest, deciduous forest - The Great Horned Owl is found in almost every habitat type in the Western Hemisphere.

  5. Owls can turn their heads over 180 degrees!

  6. Male Great Horned Owls begin defending territory in autumn.

  7. Bubo is the genus of the Great Horned Owl.

  8. The Great Horned Owl's "horns" are actually neither horns nor ears. They are feathers, sometimes called plumicorns!

  9. The leading edge of many flight feathers in owls has a comb-like edge to them, allowing for silent flight.

  10. Great Horned Owls are perch-and-pounce hunters!

  11. While the Great Horned Owl does hoot, not all owls do!

  12. 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!


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2 comentarios

Tina Toth
Tina Toth
10 oct 2021

Well played!

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Did you guess correctly? Was it a fun, short mystery? They will get tougher.

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