Last weekend the girls from down the street mentioned a headless duck in the woods. Are you sure it wasn't sleeping? I asked.
No, they said. Dead wood duck. Lacking a head. Creepy bloody mess.
They pointed across to the patch of wet woods that isn't so much a front yard as it is a glorious wilderness hugging their island of suburbia.
And there it was: a cloud of feathers, and a dead duck, sitting on a log as if arranged in a still-life.
These kids have a future running parks or solving crimes. I suggested that they had inadvertently frightened off a coyote or fox or fisher cat just after it had started eating. They pointed out to me that such a heavy creature would have broken the ice getting to or from the log! Smart kids.
Then we all came to the most likely conclusion: bird of prey.
This crow, in fact, was taken down by our local red-tailed hawk just a few weeks prior.
Chris had gone out to see what the crow colony was screaming about, and up pops the hawk.
Chris felt terrible about frightening the hawk away from her meal. She stuck around just long enough to be photographed, and didn't return for her kill.
The crow carcass didn't go to waste. Something else ate it during the night.
I wouldn't worry about the hawk, however. This bird eats well in our neighborhood. The bunny population seems to be low again, and the crows have been pampered by our compost pile, and could use the reminder that they aren't at the top of the food chain.
There she goes!