The Case of the Dead Ornithologist It was a beautiful morning as Doctor Haledjian began his morning walk. The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing. His walk was brought to an abrupt end, however, as he followed the curve of the path and found Henry Bugle, the world famous Ornithologist1 lying face down on the trail with a bullet hole through his heart. Doctor Haledjian quickly examined the corpse2 and determined that Henry had been killed within the hour. Glancing further down the path, Haledjian noticed that the previous evening's rain had made it possible to discern3 footsteps in the soft moist earth. While there were two sets of footprints leading to the body, only one set returned directly westward along the trail. The detective followed the trail of the footprints until they ended at the door of a modest country cottage. The door was opened by Dr. Bugle's secretary, a short, balding, shifty eyed man. The man was out of breath and obviously quite nervous and upset. "Dr. Bugle has been shot," the man stammered excitedly. "I was just about to head off to the village to get a doctor and the local constable4." "Calm down, and tell me what happened," Haledjian demanded. "Henry and I go out for a walk every morning just after sunrise as it is the best time of the day to study the feeding habits of many species of birds. Today was no different than any other morning except that after we had been walking for no more than 15 minutes a shot rang out. Dr. Henry clutched his heart and fell to the ground. I didn't know what to do so I returned to the cottage and was just about to go to the village for help when you showed up. I thought that I heard someone running in the distance, but to be honest with you I was pretty frightened and returned to the cottage quickly," the secretary stammered. "It is hunting season and we often hear gunshots so it could have been an accident." "Can you describe the scene just before you heard the shot," said Haledjian. "Well, I remember that Dr. Bugle had just called my attention to a very rare sighting of a Cedar Waxwing that was sitting in the top of a tree directly in front of us. That's when I heard the shot and saw Dr. Bugle drop to the ground." "Well, when the cops get here, you'd better think up a better story," exclaimed Dr. Haledjian. I know that your story is fictitious….”5 1 Based on this text, what does an ornithologist likely study? 2 What is a corpse? 3 What is another word for discern? 4 What kind of person is the secretary going to find? 5 What smaller, familiar word is inside this word?
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