do birds die with eyes open

Have you ever wondered why dead birds are so rarely seen? There may be as many as 430 billion birds on the planet, and they usually have pretty short lifespans. Yet we hardly ever find their remains.

Most birds have no control over where they die. The end might come swiftly from a collision with a window, or by the talons of a falcon or hawk. No matter how a bird dies, theres a very high possibility that a predator or scavenger will find it soon after and consume it. Birds that die in exposed areas are quickly discovered by animals like foxes, crows, or any other scavenging creatures.

Retreating to sheltered spaces to recover is the safest option for birds that are injured or sick. Those that do not make it will die in these hidden locations. They may escape the attention of the larger scavengers, but there are always smaller creatures around that will find them, like ants and flies.

Read on to learn more about where birds go to die and why we don’t see their bodies as often as you’d think. It’s a subject most people never think about, but the answers just might surprise you!

Are birds stiff when they die?

Depending on the cause of death, birds may occasionally arch their necks backward or seize up, but they are typically not stiff when they pass away. After death, they will become limp right away, but as rigor mortis sets in, they will stiffen up.

The technical term for the stiffening of the skeletal muscles that occurs after death is rigor mortis. This happens a little faster in birds than in mammals. For instance, domestic chickens and turkeys take one to three hours to reach full rigor mortis, whereas mallard ducks do so in just one to two hours.

Certain species develop rigor mortis more quickly; mallards, for instance, only take one to two hours.

Why do you never see dead birds?

Though probably not as frequently as they would think, most people have seen dead birds in the outdoors or even in their own backyards. There are three main explanations for why dead birds aren’t more common.

  • First, most birds will either be captured and eaten by a predator or, in the event that they die of another cause, will be eaten shortly after.
  • The second reason is that birds that have not eaten break down rapidly in the open, and the final reason is that sick birds may find a secret place to rest but may never fully recover.

Read on to find out more about why dead birds are so uncommon.

Wounded birds often find a hidden spot to rest

A large proportion of the dead birds that we observe are those that have been struck by cars and have rested where they are visible on the road. When you drive the same route the following day, are they still there?

Occasionally, but more frequently, an enraged animal has taken them out. In nature, there is very little waste because a variety of scavengers and decomposers are present. Dead birds can be consumed by a variety of other animals, including house cats, raccoons, skunks, opossums, coyotes, and others. Other birds like hawks and crows will too.

Predators will typically catch the majority of sick or injured birds rather quickly. For instance, a coyote can successfully capture a healthy bird, but it takes a lot of skill and frequently results in failure.

However, predators are aware that an injured bird makes a much easier meal. They closely monitor other animals’ movements and are on the lookout for any indications of weakness.

Something will eat even the birds that are not captured by predators or scavengers. Beneath their thick feathers, birds are surprisingly small creatures that disintegrate very quickly.

Flies and ants can eat rapidly and are constantly searching for food. In a matter of days, a small bird can be reduced to just a few feathers by adding decomposing bacteria to the mixture.

Birds disintegrate quickly, and their remains may vanish completely in a matter of days.

Ultimately, even with the best veterinarians and care, the worst can occasionally occur. Birds can and do die. It could be the result of negligent breeding, accidents, bad luck, or simply the bird’s time to pass away. The best you can do is learn as much as you can about your bird’s unique characteristics and try to become as informed and educated as you can (from multiple sources). and to keep in mind that one of the best preventative medications ever is to keep your pet content, loved, and mentally stimulated!

Remember that birds have a survival instinct and will often pretend to be okay when someone is observing them closely, so pay close attention.


What happens to a bird before it dies?

Just like humans, if a bird dies of natural causes, before it dies, it will either be sick, injured, or old, so will be moving about less and perhaps not flying at all. When a bird is feeling unwell it will feel vulnerable and will withdraw to a quiet area that offers it some protection.

Why do birds become stiff when they die?

The muscle becomes rigid and the bird becomes stiff, which is rigor mortis. Rigor mortis development in poultry is rapid (one to 3 h in chickens and turkeys) compared to other species (12 to 24 h in beef) [11]. The ATP in the muscles decreases by 50% within an h after normal processing [12].

What happens when a bird is dying?

Common signs of a bird who is dying include: Not eating or drinking. Wheezing and struggling for breath. Constantly puffing the feathers.

Can birds die suddenly?

Your pet bird will die suddenly if their organs fail. Unfortunately, not only can organ failure result from a lack of food and water, but also genetic abnormalities, other illnesses, and more. A necropsy might help you identify whether your beloved bird died unexpectedly from organ failure.