Death in the Backyard

We have all witnessed death in our yards.  Robins yank worms from the soil, accipiters snare unwary songbirds, snakes feast on nestlings or mice and, overhead, squadrons of swifts and nighthawks knife through clouds of hapless insects.  Few of these events, however, match the drama that I witnessed yesterday.

Clearing vines and dead wood in our backyard, I was startled by a sudden thump and shriek in a shrubline behind the house. Emerging from the vegetation, one of our local feral cats was dragging the carcass of a fox squirrel.  Sauntering off with his meal, the victim dangling from his upturned jaws, the cat resembled his large African cousins as they transport gazelles or young wildebeest back to the waiting pride.

Feral cats generally subsist on mice, moles, young cottontails and songbirds.  For one to attack an adult fox squirrel is, in my experience, highly unusual.  If nothing else, the killing attests to the skill and cunning of these wild felines.