Sunday, January 22, 2006

Predation before Breakfast

Chicken fans can relax, at least for now... the predation noted in the title did not involve domestic critters. We got out skiing yesterday morning in the amazing sun (!), and I was completely distracted by the tales told in the fresh snow. It was hard to get much, stop, take glove off, take photo, put glove back on, ski, stop... But I think it was worth it. The first compelling sight:

Hmmm. I just barely noticed it before skiing over. Closer look revealed:

Sudden end for mouse, nutritious meal for bird! (I wonder what sort?) As I zoomed in on the blood spots, I wondered if I was being morbid... ie poor mouse. Then I realized I have been commiserating much with potential "prey" chickens. This picture can equally be a celebration of continued life for the predator!

But there's not TOO much rooting for predators around here, since we do try to keep alive some tasty prey birds (chickens). Lots of these tracks were also around up on the "east 20" hill, making me wonder...

Not sure what it is yet, but likely fox or coyote. We're also wondering about fishers, who have taken some distant neighbor's cats in the past. I never really understood the historic idea that all predators are bad and we should exterminate every one (ie big hunts for bounties, etc). But now that we have chickens, I'm definitely hoping that those four-footeds keep their distance from the coop!

The largest rooster is actually growing to be quite watchful... here he is, stretching up above the snowbank to keep an eye on Lutsen and I while "his" hens were scratching in the snow. He may be watchful, but he's also, ah, very "interested" in his hens. They are getting a bit worn. More about that in the next post. Catching up!

No comments: