Monday, 26 March 2007

Death at Zip Mansion

I was ushering Patsy123 up the drive of Stately Zip Mansion this afternoon - she's off singing her little heart out again - when a large bird-shape took off and flapped silently but quickly away. Too quick for me to decide what it might be. Somewhat tawny and a bit mottled, I thought.

As we got to the gate, we noticed we were treading on a path of downy feathers. More and more greeted us as we walked out onto the pavement and then, right in front of us, lay the remains of a freshly killed pigeon. It's head was mangled and the feathers had been torn from its breast, showing the bare red skin.

It's an upsetting thing to find a dead bird at any time, but more so when it's just happened and at your own front door. Patsy123 was visibly shocked. I take a more sanguine approach to these things, but I was sorry to find it. Even more sorry that we'd inadvertently scared off the predator, whose right to eat is just as great as the pigeon's and who now would have to find another meal.

I marked the corpse's position with a white outline and disposed of the body.

6 comments:

ian gordon said...

I must confess, ALL my sympathy is with the hawk. Last summer I found the garden strewn with pigeon feathers. I suspect "my" fox got lucky, although more likely to be a neighbourhood cat.

Mr Zip said...

Oh, pigeons are OK as long as they don't bring all of their mates. You must try to curb these Nietschean tendencies ...

the domestic minx said...

Highly likely it was my marauding cat, or one of his ilk.
Curiously and unfortunately, the prey is rarely eaten. Simply toyed with, dismembered and then discarded...
*sniff*

Mr Zip said...

Welcome Minx - thanks for dropping by. Had I not seen the probable culprit fly off, I'd have suspected a cat too. But the plucking of the feathers has all the hallmarks of a hawk, and unless you know of any flying cats ...

the domestic minx said...

Hello again Mr Zip!

Ahh, yes, the hawk and his savage plucking behaviour, of course...

Mind you, I did come upon a rather vile scene at my back door recently, where my cat had captured a small turtle dove and was systematically pulling off its tail feathers with his teeth. He was making no attempt to eat it, simply pluck at it, torturously.
It was horrible. I rescued the dove but had to humanely put it out of its very obvious misery.

So no, my cat doesn't fly but he is a filthy plucker!
xx

Mr Zip said...

I really love cats, but I also love birds in the garden. It's a dilemma I solve by no longer having a cat.