Bird sighting on the Playa, anyone else see a bird

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
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Post by Bob » Sun Jul 25, 2004 9:23 am


Caption: Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus, appeared at our camp as we were packing up on Monday. One male led a harem of almost a dozen females.
Amazing desert structures & stuff:

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

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Post by Bob » Sun Jul 25, 2004 9:25 am


Caption: Ducks? (Temple of Joy burn)

Amazing desert structures & stuff:

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

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Apollonaris Zeus
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Post by Apollonaris Zeus » Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:39 am

AS you can see in Bob's photographs, these are not doves. Notice how far back the feet are, the uniform white bellys, and white tipped primary feathers and dark arm pits.

They are not doves!

I thought phalaropes?

But what ever they were they were sure tasty after the burn!


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Post by Bob » Mon Jul 26, 2004 1:00 am

Anas americana

Wigeons, not pigeons.

Amazing desert structures & stuff:

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam


Post by Guest » Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:14 pm

Until I saw that temple burn duck picture Bob posted I was sure those were doves I saw during the 2002 temple burn. I figured because of the timing and location they must have been released by someone. It looked to me as if 2 of them flew up over the fire then got overcome with heat and plummeted into the fire. Hmmm, ducks huh? Go figure.

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Post by Fat SAM » Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:52 am

Hey Chimp and Nymph gone bad - I love you both. You're obviously filthy weird fruitcakes after my own heart. My borogroves are mimsy with it. Are either of you Douglas Adams fans ? Monty Python? I have an idea for a SUPER fun theme camp based on such things...
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Post by fancy1 » Sat Aug 07, 2004 7:08 pm


Actually had a small bird, a sparrow I believe in my RV last year. It was the night after the hard wind and dust. It stayed for a couple of hours, resting on the valance. I left the door open so it would be free to leave and not panic. But, it still did get frantic for a few minutes before finding its way out the door. Sadly, I didn't get a pic.
"the early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"

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Post by diane o'thirst » Sat Aug 07, 2004 7:50 pm

I'm not waiting for the Playa to get my close-up bird sighting. A pair of swallows — real pretty, rust-coloured cheeks and breasts with white specks on the tail — have built a nest on the light fixture on my apartment's landing.

The female — I call her Little One, her mate I call Himself — is currently brooding the eggs and both my neighbour and I are waiting with baited breath for the babies to hatch. Himself perches on the top of the handrail. I set up a nice little birdbath on the landing so they can bathe and drink and everything. Plenty of insects for them to eat around here, I just wish they could come in and get the fruit flies that just hatched in my kitchen :x

We've only got three weeks to go, I hope they hatch before I have to split. Little One and Himself were chirping up a storm this morning, I thought they were hatching...but they haven't... :?

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The Great Bruno Flyer

Post by Dave » Sat Aug 07, 2004 8:32 pm

Hey Madrone

You wouldn't happen to be a bar maid would you? I get a lot of odd bird descriptions, but this is the first one that has incorporated the staggering part. Before I could answer this question, I first had to climb under my kitchen sink so I could understand what you were talking about. And let me tell you Madrone, I'm never doing that again. Talk about gross. Now I know what the mice have been complaining about.

As odd as your the explanation of your birds was, it was very accurate. You did a great job of describing your bird and how it was like a blasted burner staggering around ready to fall over and take a dirt nap. Unfortunately you didn't describe a big saparow. Although we do occasionally see sparrows around the Black Rock Desert , sparrows are rare even though they have no use for trees. When not flying, they have their feet firmly planted on the ground. You would have a better chance of seeing a poodle fly out of a tree than a dumb-ass common sparrow. Also, the voice of a sparrows is not at all like a rusty car door, it sounds more like a rusty bugle. And lastly, sparrows do not fly with their necks looking like any part of a kitchen sink. They fly with their necks looking like a 2" piece of copper tubing. I'm not sure what that means, I was just trying to talk like a plumber. Anyhow, sparrows fly with their necks straight out, like hmm, a sparrow..

The bird that you have described is our old pal the Great Bruno. Great Brunos can be found just about anywhere there is flat desert, including Gerlach. The Great Brunos love the desert. They even nest in small dust pockets. Their voice is a very harsh fffuuuccckkk, doing justice to the rusty car door comparison. And because the Great Bruno's neck, bill and head are disproportionately heavier than their bodies, they must often stop and walk around the hot desert floor even though they don't like to. The odd part about this whole thing is that many people call the sink trap a "goose neck", when in fact Bruno flyers fly with their neck straight. "Bruno neck" would be a more accurate name. Somebody needs to look into getting that changed.

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birds on playa

Post by birdbrain » Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:09 pm

Will be really glad to see some feathered friends ie. real birds on playa. will keep eagle eyes open now that u mentioned birds (some of my best friends on this great planet)!!!! Getting major league psyched.....CHIRP

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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:09 pm

At 9 o'clock plaza. I think it was Tuesday. just flying around.

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no birds - but a butterfly sighting

Post by bartolah » Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:35 pm

I think it was Thursday, near the Man, a beautiful butterfly flittered by - wasn't fast enough to get a pic of it...
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Post by unjonharley » Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:04 pm

This was the year of the bugs on the playa. A swallow made about for tips around our camp area. He wasn't lost eather. He had his mouth open colecting bugs. A littie later a dragon flie come around and was eating on the fly.

On the way home: Sorry to say a dragon fly was sucked in the airflow of the van. It struck my shoulder and died.
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I saw that bird!

Post by xodiamondxo » Tue Sep 07, 2004 8:23 pm

It was a brownish gray sparrow type bird. He/she flew out from under my truck at 3:15 and Sedna. He went around the truck and kept a safe distance from me. I put crackers and water out for him, but didn't see the little guy/gal again. First wildlife I've seen out there in 6 years.

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Post by Blonde Iguana » Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:47 am

My first day there (Monday) a largish grey/white bird skimmed by, very low to the ground. Looking lost.

Also found a petrified grasshopper.
How we live each day is, of course, how we live our lives.

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Post by Sobretta Franjipan » Thu Sep 09, 2004 2:28 am

There was something really strange about this bird, it seemed perfectly happy yet had a staggering type walk, it tripped a couple of times.
O.K. I admit it. That little bird had just been over to my camp-Camp Joan Rivers-where the bar was open (it was always open...). We gifted it some Maker's Mark.

Straighten up and fly right!

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Post by PlumBob » Thu Sep 09, 2004 7:47 am


On Sunday as we were packing up at 6:30 and Pluto, a small bird was hopping around in the shade of our camp. It could fly short distances, but it had some kind of string tangled around its legs. We tried for a while to catch it and free it, but it had moved on to the next camp by the time we were ready to leave.

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Post by Jordan 10-E » Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:15 am

Out on 10:00 I saw a crow that circled around and then landed. He was checking something out on the ground. A little later two of his buddies showed up and they were all flying around. Together they made a gang.... actually in the words of Homer Simpson, "No Marge, it's not a gang. It' a MURDER."

Then I saw two other birds flying by that were still pretty black and big, but looked more swallow like. They definately flew differently than the crows.

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Playa on Bird Watch!

Post by XS » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:29 pm

I too saw a single, rather large brown and grey sparrow at my camp (5:30 and Sedna) Sunday afternoon. I thought it strange and actually conversed at the little fellow. "Hello little one. How are you this fine playa day?" It stared at me, cocked it head back and forth, and hopped back and forth on the side rail of my trailer. Only my second year, It seemed entirely out of place to see a vulnerable little creature in such a forboding and desolate place. Was it blown in on the winds? Was it an ancestor's spirit-good omen? Or perhaps the FEDS and LEOS have become extremely cleaver this year and are using little bird robots to spy on us?..... I'm going with the good omen slant. A little bird told me.
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Post by AntiM » Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:49 pm

We were out at the White House installation and a smallish dark grey bird landed next to the picket fence, hopped in and looked around. It was almost as though the bird knew there should be a lawn and water in a fenced area around a house. It flew away after it discovered there was nothing there but dust. I snapped a picture, but will have to wait to see if it comes out. I saw two more similar birds hopping under a neighbor's trailer the next day.

Starling shaped bird, longish narrow beak, but neither dark or irridescent enough to be a starling. Cowbird? Female Grackle?

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Post by prick » Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:37 pm

i saw a bunch of living things that weren't people.

while some friends of mine and i were setting up the poetry shack on the middle of the playa we were attacked by some kind of biting gnats. totally out of the blue. they were gone the next day. but i heard someone pretty far off bitching about the same thing 2 days later.

after a long bike ride, a complete angel of a woman made quesadillas for my friend fox and i after seeing the desperation for food and beer in our eyes (we were still way far away from camp). while we were eating, a couple of dragonflies started buzzing around the woman's hair and finally came to rest on the uhaul behind her.

and there were a couple of birds as well.


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Post by herpy hancock » Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:22 pm

It's true - Stinking hippies always draw in things - they are like a vortex . .
flys, birds, wasps, bees, spiders . . . and other stinking hippies . . .
In Yo Face!

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Post by sparkletarte » Sat Sep 11, 2004 5:02 pm

I saw a beautiful grey bird Tuesday afternoon flying low over the camps. A couple days later I saw a really big bug, it looked like a huge bumble bee but all black.

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Post by wonderbuns » Sun Sep 12, 2004 6:06 am

I saw the "sparrow" Sunday about an hour after sunrise. Three times it flew in pursuit of a middle-sized art car, apparently trying to land on the rear railing ... but couldn't seem to pull it off. It ended up taking refuge under the double-length bus parked at Esplanade and 10:00.

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Post by wonderbuns » Sun Sep 12, 2004 6:11 am

I saw the "sparrow" Sunday morning near Disorient about an hour after sunrise. It was trying to land on the rear railing of a fairly large, moving art car but couldn't seem to pull it off. Eventually it took refuge under the double-length bus at Esplanade and 10:00.

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Post by dman » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:42 am

Didn't see any birds this year, but this little creature hung out on T for several hours:

"Yes, but is it art?" "No, Art is over there, on the couch."

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i saw lots of birds this year

Post by peggyo » Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:54 pm

a few came through camp, and two landed right over my head on the driftwood tree as i watched the sunrise out by the fence on weds. it was pretty cool.

two yrs ago i had a praying mantis that hung out on my shoulder for almost 3 hrs after the tmple burn. she was gorgeous.

and this year while breaking down camp, there was a cricket that followed my shadow around for a while. i guess he really needed some shade. every move i made he'd scramble to wherever my shadow was, and then hang out there til i moved again.

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Post by wovenone » Fri Sep 17, 2004 10:40 pm

i caught sight of a large dark gray bird swoop-flapping at an on-point angle down in between two trucks, sort of a zig-zag swoop. and i saw a dog. anybody see a dog?
exerpt from another post also: i feel like something powerful and gracious, almost like a giant bird brushing the event with its wingtips, is speaking something in my heart, and i would like to connect with anyone else feeling similar things in the interest of understanding the strange language of the spirit that i sense touching me.
"Why should humanity act as if it is the only intelligence?" - Deva of the Golden Conifer

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Post by mkl » Sun Oct 03, 2004 7:18 pm

did not see an actual bird ...

but a frighteningly realistic human simulation of a chicken, at center camp. he just moved so chicken-y, it was crazy!

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Post by calsur » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:44 am

I heard all this stuff about “No life on the Playa”. I pull up to my camp site at 5 o’clock and Sedna Monday afternoon, turn off the truck and a bee lands on the windshield.

On Thursday a ladybug landed on my hand. I managed to transplant the bug to a safe area.

When I was breaking down camp on Saturday I flushed a small grey/brown bird from under my truck. It flew about 50 feet and went under went under a motor home.

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