The Echo Park Lake bird count was today, but there has also been a different kind of count conducted recently. Neighbors have reported an upswing in the number of rooster heads, which have been found in Silver Lake on the edge of Echo Park (boundaries are a matter of opinion). According to one woman, the heads stopped turning up for a few years, and now they're back. Meanwhile, in Elysian Heights, some friends of mine discovered two decapitated pigeons and a goat's head at one of the informal trail entrances to Elysian Park -- one of two most commonly used. That was in the first week of October 2008. The thought is that the heads may be Santeria offerings. Merrick Morton, who has lived in Echo Park for over 15 years, says he has seen a ceremony at about 6 a.m. in Elysian Park lead by a Spanish speaking man in a black hood. Candles have been found burning in the park, as well as other decapitated birds. The discoveries have happened on and off for years.
In response to my questions, a woman named Mary, who lives in Silver Lake, emailed:
The heads are found at the corner of Reservoir and Silver Lake Blvd. They are in plain sight, but at the edge of the road where the curb meets the sidewalk. We would see them while waiting for the light to change at the crosswalk. For a period of about a month last year, there was a new one about once a week. This happened previously, too, about a year earlier, also for a period of about a month.
A photo of the Elysian Park decapitated goat and pigeons after the jump.