Sunday, 24 October 2010


I live in a quiet little cul-de-sac on a quiet little estate, in a quiet little .......... OK, you get the picture. Usually, the closest we get to the call of the wild is an occasional glimpse of a fox skulking about late at night. This morning however, I discovered that it's a jungle out there.

I have previously mentioned my bird-feeding habits ('Surrogate dogs') and was heading out to scatter my seed when I realised that all was not well in my garden. The first thing my sleepy brain took in was the pile of white feathers on the path. Surprisingly, I was awake enough to realise that this signified the demise of a pigeon. Just beyond the feathers was our lovely garden statue of a sparrow-hawk and nearby was ....... hang on! We don't have a statue of a sparrow-hawk.

It was a magnificent sight. Perched motionless on top of its prey which it grasped firmly in its talons as the corpse twitched occasionally. I watched in fascination as it then proceeded to deftly pluck the pigeon's feathers off and started to eat its fresh, warm breakfast.

I called my wife to see the sight and as you would expect, she went all girly with cries of "Oh the poor little pigeon". She then turned on her heel leaving me with 'Obviously it will be you clearing up that feathery mess out there'. As for me, I was resisting the boyish urge to shout out 'You want fries with that?'

Later, when the bird had flown, I went out to do the man's job of dealing with death. While I was sweeping up the feathers I came upon a rather large quantity of blood underneath. No problem. We men can handle it. For some reason it occurred to me that in all my years, I have never seen a female butcher. It seems that it takes the male of the species to handle butchery.

Then as I finished up, I suddenly discovered a bloodied little pigeon's head (*whimper).


  1. I would have gone all girly too. Of course, being a farmer I see this kind of thing all the time when out in the fields, but recently someone ran into a fawn and left it dead by the roadside. I was mortified to be honest and am still waiting for my husband, the other farmer, to pick it up so that I can have it preserved and on display.

    CJ xx

  2. My mum is an avid bird feeder in her garden and has come across a lot of sparrow hawk kills recently too, she does however clear the mess herself ... well, thats if her dog doesn't get to it first.