This morning, both Anne and I were leaving for work at about the same time. Before we each jumped into our respective cars and headed out, we stopped to converse for a bit, all the while standing out front on the sidewalk. While we were speaking, we both noticed a steady stream of some sort of stuff that was gently floating down from above. It was falling from our front yard maple tree. At first, I thought that they were leaves or bits of leaves that maybe some squirrel was ejecting from its burrow. It is fall now, but the particles seemed too small to be whole maple leaves and they floated way too slowly to be falling leaves. Then I wondered if the falling particles might be sawdust, like the stream of falling sawdust that is created by a carpenter bee as it chews its way through wood, but what ever it was that was falling, it was too large to be sawdust. We moved closer to investigate this phenomenon and try to figure out what was really coming down.
What we found was a pile of tan and grey feathers scattered across the pavement. Looking up, we saw that more feathers continued to rain down upon us. Then we spied their source, a raptor eating breakfast on a branch. We both tried taking iPhone pictures of this bird, but I knew that that wouldn’t work out too well. So, I went back into the house to get a real camera and took the above photograph. It turns out that the raptor was a Cooper’s hawk. We see them routinely in the neighborhood. They mainly eat birds and must really appreciate all the avid backyard birders in the neighborhood, what with the large number of birdfeeders around. The prey was a Mourning Dove that was likely plucked off the peak of our next door neighbor’s roof. They like to congregate there in the morning and I can regularly hear them cooing.