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Bone hunting in the city?

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Nov. 24th, 2010 | 12:37 pm
posted by: flowerthousand in from_nature

 I grew up in the woods, but for the past five and a half years, I've been living in cities (for college and now jobs). Needless to say, I miss the woods a lot and also being able to collect natural objects easily. Anyone else in this situation? Got any tips for finding stuff in the city?

Here's my advice: Rivers! In the last city I lived in, I was near a river, and there were several places where I could get down to the shore to scavenge. I found lots of bones washed up, in addition to other cool stuff like antique ceramic pieces, old bottles, and sometimes even parts of antique dolls. This was a smallish city, so my "hunting" grounds weren't really picked over by other people, and I had lots of access to riverfront due to it being adjacent to parks, cemeteries, and abandoned property.

Now I live in a bigger city, and I'm not having much luck! I've been down to the closest river, but it didn't look like there was anything of interest washed up, and most of the river is adjacent to commercial or private property anyway. There is a nature preserve I've been meaning to check out, but I'm feeling frustrated! So what do you guys do when you want to bone hunt in the city?

Also, a pic of my city bones behind the cut: 

clockwise from top left:
-raccoon, from the river
-squirrel, found by a friend, but I assume near the road
-fish skull, river
-house sparrow skull, washed out of the gutter into my front garden
-old unknown bone fragments, found in a pile of dirt where pipes were being fixed under a parking lot
-fish pharyngeal jaws, river
-raccoon, opossum, and cat jaws, river

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Comments {4}


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from: jacques_strappe
date: Nov. 24th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)

Cool city bones! I never would have thought to look along a river, lol. One thing you could try, if you're brave enough (or aren't afraid to break a few laws) is urban exploration, if there are any abandoned buildings in your city. I've got a friend in Detroit who says he finds cat, dog, raccoon, pigeon, and rat skeletons all the time when he explores abandoned buildings...

Of course, there's always the roadside -- but I'd rather find older bones than something more fresh, if you know what I mean! If you don't have snow in your area yet, now is a pretty good time to walk along the roadside ditches and see if there's anything left from this summer's roadkill. Good luck!

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from: flowerthousand
date: Nov. 24th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)

Urban exploration sounds awesome, but I'm a huge wimp! I hate breaking the rules, haha! Maybe someday, though.

I'd rather find older bones, too. I mean, someday I want to try cleaning a freshly-dead animal, but not when I'm living in a city apartment (with my landlady right upstairs!). I will definitely keep my eyes on the roadside.

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from: spiralsheep
date: Nov. 24th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)

(Replied here so you'd both see it.)

There often seem to be common birds on the edge of the road in the town where I'm living. There's also a large park with some scrubby trees/bushes where a determined bone collector could put, for example, a bird in, for example, a post-use plastic food pot (preferably see-through) with lid that had prviously been prepared by making small insect-sized holes in it and then, using more holes and those long cable ties gardeners use, secure the lid to the pot and the pot to a place near any source of flesh-eating insects (flies get everywhere) with minimal scavengers. Above human head-height in unclimbable bushes/trees works around here, as does attached to any out-of-the-way street furniture or fences (for example, on the inside of abandoned property). As long as you don't attract pet dogs or lots of obvious scavengers, don't make nuisance smells, don't leave health hazards where humans (especially small humans) will find them, don't litter, &c., then it'll probably be fine. You'll lose a few but....

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(no subject)

from: flowerthousand
date: Nov. 25th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)

Now that's an interesting idea! The leaves are just about gone here, so it would be hard to hide something like that right now, but I will keep it in mind!

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