A Massacre and Dinner in the Backyard

I watched in morbid fascination as a large red-tailed hawk shred and ate a cardinal in my backyard this afternoon. Feathers blew away and bloody bones were tossed from his mouth as he methodically ripped out the bird’s entrails and connective tissues, leaning back his head as he swallowed. His talons were as big as my hands and they firmly grasped the dead body in the snow.

‘How cannibalistic,’ I thought, but I couldn’t turn away.

He didn’t leave much. Just some blood and a few matted feathers. My spoiled lay-on-the-couch-all-day Iams-eating dogs will go into full “wild dog” mode on their evening romp, sniffing the carnage and licking the blood on the snow. Just as my cat tried to sneak in dead birds and voles, my dogs will no doubt find the tiniest of bones and think it’s OK to bring them in the house. I will stand vigilant at the door, checking their mouths thoroughly for surprises.

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