CW: Animal killing animal

We have a great view out the window from the dining table. It looks out on our cherry tree and apple tree. Hanging from the branches of the cherry tree we have two bird feeders. We get a decent variety of birds that come to the feeders:

We also get Brewer's Blackbirds nesting in our holly tree every spring. We usually only do the feeders with regularity in the winter, where we feel we are providing a nice lifeline for some birds. I don't know if it really pans out that way, but that is how we tend to feel about it: we take care of the birds in our neighborhood when the weather gets cold and food is harder to come by.

The acorn woodpeckers have become quite territorial about it this year, unlike years past. There is almost always one or two nearby and they bully the other birds off of the feeders. That said, everyone seems to eventually get their turn.

The doves have always annoyed me. They are large and clumsy. They make sounds that annoy me, though I really couldn't say why their sounds annoy me.

The other day we were all sitting at the table eating breakfast. I had been watching the birds. My wife's back was to the feeders. I saw a dove flying up off of the ground to alight on a feeder. About halfway to the feeder I saw a blur and then an explosion of feathers. Truly, feathers everywhere. A giant puff of them. I alerted my wife and daughter to the fact that I thought an overzealous woodpecker had collided with a dove.

I stood up so I could see lower to the ground and saw a falcon, or possibly a small hawk, standing atop the broken, but still moving dove. It stood there, occasionally adjusting its position. Looking as if strangling the dove with its talons. Which may have been just what it was doing. We all watched for a moment or two. Finally, the dove stopped moving and the falcon seemed to have recovered some energy, or jsut deided it was time, and flew off with the body of the dove in its talons. It didn't get great height, as the dove was a good chunk of the falcoln's size. It made it into the bushes accross the way and, I assume, enjoyed its meal.

My wife was both fascinated and horrified. My daughter was confused. We have explained to her that that is how the falcon eats and that it was no good for the dove, but was good for the falcon. She, after mulling it over and assigning it as an accident in her mind, got the idea: that there isn't a moral standing on this particular situation. The bird was simply doing what is in its nature to do. It was a nice bridge for us to further talk to her about why we choose to be vegan. That we are fortunate to have that choice, but that not everything does.

It was a fascinating morning. Only the second time I've ever seen something catch a flying bird, kill it, and eat it. The other time was a white-handed gibbon at the Santa Ana Zoo. It caught a bird flying through its enclosure and eventually ate it, throwing some scraps to an enclosure-mate.

It is easy to forget how thing work in the world.