The Fly-by Killing

On Saturday, boyfriend and I were watching TV after just finishing with breakfast.  Skippy was lying in his great big pillow bed that is nice and soft and next to the patio door.

We put his kitty bed next to the patio door, so that he can watch kitty TV.  What is kitty TV you ask?  When we put bird food in the bird feeder during the winter months, we also spread some bird food on the ground in front of the patio door.  Skip can then lay in his bed nice and warm and watch the birds…a cat’s form of TV.  Which I call kitty TV…it only gets one channel which is a live view of the outside. 🙂

For the past week, I had noticed that our bird population was fluctuating to extremes.  We’d go from having more birds than the feeder could handle to having almost no birds at all through the day.  If we had birds, they would fly way off all of a sudden and not just to the trees like normal with noise.  I thought this was odd, but I just guessed that a neighbor had put out more preferred food and the birds were going there instead.

Well, Saturday we found out what was up with our bird population.  No it wasn’t a cat; although we have those.  This was much more dangerous to the birds and come to find out deadly.

Imagine sitting on the couch watching TV, talking, periodically looking outside at the birds, when all of a sudden all of the birds take off at once and you hear a THUD! on the patio door.  Skip goes running, and all you saw was a huge wing.  And I mean huge!

Boyfriend and I get up to investigate. We figured one of the doves flew the wrong direction right into our patio door and was knocked unconscious.  Nope…there isn’t any body.

Boyfriend says “Wow! Look at that! Is that a hawk?”  I’m standing there not seeing what he sees.  I’m looking everywhere in the sky, the tree, on top of the brick walls and see nothing.  Boyfriend says “Go over there…quick!”

I look out and there standing in the snowy grass is the largest bird I have ever seen up close.  It’s a hawk, and in his talons is a dove still flapping its wings.  The hawk moves his talons and the wings stop flapping.  Shortly after, the hawk flew off to wherever leaving a red spot in the snow.

A little saddened at the death of the dove, but excited from seeing nature up close, I look to my Audubon Bird application.  Based on the markings, we were just visited by a Cooper’s hawk who now had a meal to eat.

Not too long afterwards, our neighbor heads out with her little Chihuahuas to let them go potty.  Her face was priceless.  She is not really, but kind of an outdoorsy type and loves animals.  She looked at the red spot…at our bird feeder…at the red spot…back to the bird feeder with a very disgusted look.  I sent boyfriend to the door to explain.

The first words out of her mouth were, “Have been feeding your cat?”  If she had thought about it, Skip rarely goes outside, and even if he does it’s on a leash.  The chicken won’t step a foot outside; unless his leash is on.

Boyfriend laughed and said “Yeah, we’ve been feeding him.  Actually, we had a fly-by killing just a bit ago.  A Cooper’s Hawk flew in and caught a dove, and took it to that spot to kill it.”  Our neighbors eyes grew large and she said “What should I do now?”  Meaning she didn’t want her dogs to get into the blood and how would she keep them out.  She solved it with a shovel.

Speaking of Skip, the big chicken was on the back of the couch behind mommy’s head.  I guess he felt that if the hawk could get a dove, it could get him too.  He only stopped by the patio window for little bits of time.  Sunday he started to lie down in his kitty bed again, but for awhile there he was a little spooked.  Of course if I was his size and I saw the hawk swoop in not a foot from me, I’d be a little concerned too. 🙂

I have to say it was thrilling to watch nature in action.  I feel bad for the dove, but that is the circle of life.  The birds started coming back to the bird feeder after a few hours.  I guess all was forgotten. C’est la vie pour d’un oiseau.