Friday mystery object #355


It’s NatSCA conference week here in Dublin – the best time of the natural history collections year. If you want to hear about what’s going on you should check it out on Twitter under the hashtag #NatSCA2019.

Of course, that means I this week’s mystery object has been taken from a snap on my phone, as I’ve been a bit bust – so here’s a slightly less than ideal photo of an old and slightly grubby bird skeleton to have a go at identifying:

Any idea what this might be? All suggestions gratefully received!

15 thoughts on “ Friday mystery object #355

  1. The right toes seem to be missing, are the two on the left zygodactylous, or another broken foot?

  2. I feel strongly that I am wrong but I still want to investigate the possibility that this is a southern swimmer.

    More later.

  3. Is it the perspective of the photo, iris the skull disproportionately large? In the latter case… immature?

  4. I agree that the head seems very large in proportion to the rest of the body. I’m still looking for that bulbous skull!

    • The eyes are certainly large enough to be a nocturnal bird, but unless I’m being fooled by the angle, the beak is not “right” for a barn owl – or any other owl I know. Maybe the European Barn Owl is different from the American one, but then the toes and talons such as they are on this specimen don’t seem long enough . . . I’m thinking nocturnal – but what?

  5. Well, if this bird has zygodactyl toe arrangement, it may not be the one I thought it was. Back to drawing board.

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