Eat (and be eaten)

At the bottom of our feeder it looked like someone had taken a feather pillow and busted it open before shaking it around. Feathers were all over the place.

Feather1

Upon closer inspection, some of the feathers had blood on them. Never a good sign.

Feather3

Soon “innards” were discovered along with the feathers. Obviously something had met its demise here. Now, seeing the aftermath, we were curious as to the what it might have been.

Feather4

Early guesses would eventually prove to be true when we found a few feathers with a distinctive curl at the tip. These feathers are commonly found on a particular species of water fowl along with green iridescent feathers at the head. A bit of additional searching produced the feathers, that when held to the sunlight a certain way flashed green.

Feather5

And the former owner of these feathers was a male mallard duck. Near as we can figure it landed at the base of the feeder where some cracked corn had been sprinkled. Either a hawk or coyote was able to catch it by surprise. Hawk is our first choice as we suspect a coyote would have carried it off while a hawk would be more likely to pluck all the feathers and eat what it could right then and there. Since no carcass was found, perhaps the hawk flew off with the remains or perhaps a coyote arrived and absconded with the remains.

Feather2

Rest in peace ducky.

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~ by Gary & Therese on February 23, 2014.

One Response to “Eat (and be eaten)”

  1. A sad story told with beautiful photography and sensitivity. A powerful record of the natural world around us.
    Particular impact for me as I only just published a similar story of life and death sent by a neighbour living beside Fox Gully wildlife corridor. http://megoutlook.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/carpet-snake-vs-ringtail-possum-who-wins/

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