Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Predation

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Remember yesterday, when I wrote about the Western Scrub Jays eating bees from my back yard? Remember how I said that I had to make my peace with the fact that there's no "good" or "bad" predation? Well, I (the tender-hearted vegetarian) had to own those words later that same day.

When I came home, the bird that I've made a special point of inviting into my yard was making a meal of a dead sparrow under our lilac bushes.

All this makes me think of a passage from a book I love, I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.


After a while I hear an owl hooting and calmed myself by thinking of it flying over the dark fields -- and then I remembered it would be pouncing on mice. I love owls, but wish God had made them vegetarians.


(Don't scroll down if you are upset by images of predation. There were way worse photos, if that's any consolation.)


13 comments:

Kathy M said...

Nature can be brutal. Several years ago I had a hen with her chicks out gardening with me and a Sharpshin hawk swooped in and stole one of the chicks. It broke my heart even though I understand the need for predation.

camissonia said...

Lisa, I feel your quandary. I love all things avian and have put up several bird feeders: hummingbird feeders, finch socks, oriole feeders, etc., etc. (you name it, I've got it) around our property. Several months ago, I was mortified to witness a Cooper's hawk dive down on the finch sock and take off with a poor, hapless lesser goldfinch. Took me a couple days to get over it, but I realized that such is the web of life. So, I relocated the feeder to under the cover of a Sycamore tree and since then, so far, so good. Predation is neither good nor bad, but in my case, I don't want to facilitate it.

Kurious Jo said...

I used to believe that too until I learned about non-native species wiping out native species. Mankind can't seem to correct past mistakes.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

In this case, it looks like the native scrub jay was eating a non-native sparrow. All the feathers were off the little bird's head, so identification is tentative, at best.

Christine said...

A horrific find, but your photos show him to be quite the supermodel if that's any consolation.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

So sad, but all part of the web of life. If you saw my last post, it turns out that you don't need to be a Jay to make a meal of bees. Between the Jays and the spiders, I had no idea that simply being a bee was such a dangerous job!

carol said...

If it makes you feels any better, it is highly unlikely that the Scrub Jay killed the bird. It probably happened across the dead bird and was happy with it's own good fortune. The Sparrow may have been injured by a hawk or flown into a window or car and died, and then the Jay found it. But think of the Jay as doing a service by not letting the Sparrow's body go to waste.

Stone Art said...

beautiful bird, looks like he can be a bit of a pain though.

Pica said...

Definitely a non-native house sparrow. Don't fret too much about this one Lisa...

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I'm actually okay with all if this, but think it's odd that I have so much carnage in my tiny urban garden. Not exactly the Peaceable Kingdom.

Stefaneener said...

It's so indifferent, the world out there. Really. We don't have to be, in fact, probably must not be, but there is nothing in the bigger picture that prizes the sparrow over the jay. . . or us over a bear, or whatever.

We have a bee-eating jay ourselves. A pair, actually.

And once I was sitting outside with Sarafina when an owl blew through the air past us after a dove, I think. They were both going very fast. I see very little evidence for peaceable kingdom-hood in the yard.

Anonymous said...

When I see this kind of thing, I always think 'circle of life. circle of life. circle of life.' Critters eat other critters; it just is what it is.

Have had a few 'circle of life' moments lately. One of the neighborhood cats likes to catch moles. Not eat. Catch. Fun to clean up before mowing the yard. Somebody finished off a squirrel recently and left a tail for me on the front step. A starling met his end in my driveway the other day, but he didn't have any outward signs of damage, so I'm not sure what happened to him.

Together We Save said...

I believe this is just part of life's natural process, I don't like to see it but it happens. The living bird is beautiful BTW.

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