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Frozen Toes

Joseph Grinnell
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
5
Issue: 
1 (January-February)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1903
Pages: 
18

Frozen Toes

I shot a golden-crowned sparrow the other day near Palo Alto that shows a curious mutilation of the feet. The outer toe of each foot is thickened and gnarled so that the joints can hardly be distinguished. A stump of the bone or claw protrudes at the tip. The whole thing reminded me of the way chickens’ toes look after being frost-bitten. The sparrow, as shown by the skull, was of a last years’ brood, and might have tarried in its northern home last fall until a hard freeze set in. I have seen similar scars on birds ’ feet before, but I can’t just now remember what species. Perhaps someone can suggest a more reasonable explanation.

JOSEPH GRINNELL.

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