At my former QA, ground-floor apt., I had a feeder that I stocked with black-hulled sunflower seeds. The black-capped chickadees would have to either wait their turn when the sparrows had the thing hogged up, or they would dart in and out for their single seeds when they had a chance.
The feeder was under fairly heavy cover with trees above and close to the ground, as well as being bordered to the rear by head-high bushes. I think the birds found this quiet place to be a safe place to feed.
One day I was sitting on my slab patio watching the chickadees -- who had the feeder to themselves -- take and hide their seeds. I heard no sound, though I did catch a flash of a sweeping image and a chaos of fleeing birds. And in that split second, a Cooper's Hawk had blurringly negotiated branches and low cover at high speed, striking and snaring an unfortunate chickadee in its yellow talon.
The Cooper's Hawk was no more than five feet from me on the ground, getting its second talon onto the chickadee as it proceeded to squeeze and squeeze and squeeze the life out of the screeching chickadee. I was amazed that the accipiter seemed to be giving me this show of its highly-refined, even proud set of skills.
The bird hawk now hopped up onto a low stump, still in my direct view, and made quick work of de-feathering the chickadee. Its kill-and-clean done, the beautiful hunter paused there for a few more moments, then burst into flight with its prize dangling beneath.
A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were waiting for a bus downtown on 3rd Avenue. It was late - about 1 am - and the street was eerily quiet ... there was only the wind from the Sound blowing up between the buildings and the occasional passing car. Suddenly, something appeared above our heads, swirling down from the sky - a pair of pigeon wings, ripped off at the shoulder but fully intact. They landed in the middle of the street with a sickening, hollow crunch.
And then they were promptly crushed under the wheels of a Metro bus.
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