|Hairy Woodpecker on a gut pile in the snow|
It snowed again last night. Only an inch or two. The red liquid in my kitchen thermometer hovered around the "0" line. I dreaded going outside. But the birds were a callin' and they wanted the feeders filled.
I put on my coat and gloves and went outside at 7am. I shoveled the feeding station and filled the feeders.
I didn't see the "crime scene" until I started shoveling the driveway. I found it behind the big spruce that shelters my feeding station. At first I thought it looked like one of those clumps of snow and road sand that I've been kicking off the wheel-wells my Prius. It wasn't until I got closer that I realized it was something else altogether.
|The gut pile in my driveway|
Here's what was left at the scene: The fur and tracks (on the right) belong to a cottontail rabbit. Feather and talon tracks (on the left) belong to an owl - a Great-horned or Barred. I've heard them both in my backyard.
It looks like an owl spotted a rabbit early this morning. The bird killed it and eviscerated it on the spot; then flew off with the body, leaving the rabbit's intestines and a swatch of fur behind.
Will the owl come back? Will another creature eat what was left behind? Inquiring minds want to know.
I moved the guts to a place I could watch from the comfort of my kitchen window.
|Downy Woodpecker on rabbit intestines|
Minutes later, a Downy Woodpecker discovered the now-frozen guts and started pecking away at the pile. As I was setting up to take a photo, a Hairy Woodpecker flew over, scared the Downy away and started pecking
I couldn't stay and watch, but when I got home at 4pm, some of it was still visible from the kitchen window. I'll be surprised if it's still there in the morning. Stay tuned...