Tuesday, February 07, 2017
The dead-bird detective
The dead-bird detective: Pepper Trail is the first to admit he has an unusual skill set. Give him a single feather or a small fragment of a claw or a cooked hunk of breast meat, and he'll tell you the species of bird from which it came. As the world's leading criminal forensic ornithologist, Trail is asked day in and day out to perform these exact tasks. Over the past 18 years he has assisted with hundreds of investigations, testified in federal court 15 times, and handled more bird carcasses than anyone should. "All birders have life lists," Trail says. "I have a death list."