Kinda gross - Avian Anatomy

It’s a bit bloody and a bit gory. A falcon(?) attacks a seagull and the seagull gets away, but not before sustaining some damage.

My question is - I don’t see any room left for circulation or nerves, so how is it standing and looking around? What am I missing? Are they simply incredible, amazing fakes?

I’m no ornithologist, but isn’t there some truth about a chicken running around with its head cut off? The bird certainly is not going to survive, but I can imagine that it could stand up for a while.

Bird’s necks, underneath the feathers, are quite thin. Think of a plucked chicken neck. It’s not entirely clear to me that the falcon did anything more than pluck all the feathers off the gull’s neck. The spine (containing the spinal cord) appears to be intact. Since the gull is walking around, it is clear that the blood vessels that run along the spine, as well as the trachea, must also be intact.

Here’s a gull skeleton. Note how thin the neck is.

im a somewhat pro at photoshop and its possible someone with a high end version of photoshop and the skill could have made this. like 60% sure its fake

As an ornithologist, it looks 100% authentic to me.

Mike the headless chicken had enough of his neck and brainstem left from the botched decapitation that he was able to live on for another 18 months.

This seagull is slightly different, in that to me it doesn’t look like he’s got enough anything left around his spin to allow him to live on or move.

Still, the answer seems to be that since he is walking and looking about, there must be enough of the vital stuff left? I’m more than happy to take an SDMB mod on his accredited word. :slight_smile:

Gulls have surprisingly little brain tissue to begin with.

Birds also tend to not show illness or distress until they are just about ready to shuffle off. As soon as the shock and infection catch up with him that will be it. It looks like all the flesh was stripped off, not just the feathers. If all the flesh is gone on the throat he won’t be able to eat because the esophagus is not there anymore, so anything it eats will fall out but I doubt he’d survive long enough to attempt to eat.

I wouldn’t believe him just because he’s a mod. Moderators do occasionally number in the “few total dipsticks” we have running around here.

I would believe him because he’s a bird expert and knows more about bird anatomy than the rest of us, and he’s not often wrong.

Makes me wish the hawk had finished the job!

And it looks real to me. Having spent many years scratching the heads and necks of birds all sizes, it still amazes me how delicate their bodies are.

Jeez, it looks like the losing Rock em Sock em Robot!

It looks kind of fake to me, but I’m not an expert in either Ornithology or Photoshop, so don’t take my word for it. The thing that looks kind of fake to me is how erectly the gull is holding its head. Since it’s stills and not movie, you can’t see whether the gull is doing the “head bobbing as it walks thing”, which I presume would be extremely difficult at this point.

Surely the gull bled out fairly shortly afterward, though.

As a person who has cut off the heads of many chickens and shot many pigeons through the head, I can attest to the ability of certain birds to retain the appearance and movement of life for many minutes after life is clearly no longer possible. Basically, they’re too stupid to know they’re dead. What is shown in the picture is perfectly plausible and not at all surprising.

I’ll second that. The gull will/did die just due to the amount of soft tissue trauma, then again I have seen pet and wild birds die from far less extensive trauma.

I often see neonate pet birds with full thickness burns in the neck area due to the owner feeding formula that is too hot. On the surgery table, things sometimes look nearly as bad as the gull.

Same here, and how intact and unsullied the head looks.

That’s pigeons.

Yep, he’s an expert here; and although he can be wrong like the rest of us mere mortals, it won’t be about birds.

Looks plausible to me.

This gull is looking for braaaaiiinnns…

(Bird braaaaiiinnns…)

You sayin’ we’re all quite gull-ible? :smack:

I will second (or third or fourth) that it looks fake. How can a bird holds its head up without the muscles to do so?

The muscles are in the neck, running along the side of the spine. The head isn’t very heavy; remember that much of its size is contributed by the feathers.