Monday, December 26, 2005

Pity the Poor Mourning Dove

Last week, in the middle of a sunny afternoon, a sudden wave of birds flew across the yard from the pines at the back, and away--chickadees and mourning doves, for the most part. A feather or two floated in the air. I thought there must be something dramatic going on--but couldn't see anything from the house, and I wasn't dressed to climb the hill in all that soft snow, as it was then.

When I walked up the next morning the evidence was there. Something, and I suspect the red-tailed hawk that's been hanging around for a couple of weeks now, ate (I am guessing) a mourning dove, sitting on the path right near the shed. If I'd walked up when I noticed the exodus I might have seen it. On the other hand, I'd probably have chased the hawk off its meal, and life is tough enough for predators, especially this poor bird that is almost constantly harassed by the neighbourhood crows.

The meal was taken in a snowshoe track--you can just make out a wing print in the edge of it.

The size of the wing print is part of what makes me think that the diner was a red-tailed hawk.

These are just a few of the feathers that littered the ground--but feathers was all that was left.

The quantity and quality of the feathers is what makes me think this was probably a mourning dove. The mourning doves spend a lot of time sitting in the pines at the property line. They spook very easily, but this time the hawk was quicker.

Pity the poor mourning dove. Hooray for the hawk!


Dave Dorsey said...

Nature almost at your door. Hawks are cool. They can see a long distance and can be mighty quiet. The poor dove wasn't paying enough attention to what was going on around it.

robin andrea said...

I chased a Cooper's Hawk from its intended meal of Belted Kingfisher in my yard the other day. It was a spontaneous moment for me. If I had thought about it, I would have let the hawk have its hard-earned meal. It won't be easy to walk away, but I intend to next time.

Pamela Martin said...

RD, how great to have a belted kingfisher and a Cooper's hawk in your yard!