Bird of Prey
We live in the upper reaches of one of the Sound’s smaller watersheds, in an area notable for having an unusual array of animals for a suburb of New York City. While we’ve had our share of development, we also have enough big parks and preserves, water protection land, and large privately-owned holdings to allow animals that require unfragmented habitat to thrive. Our neighborhood has river otters, bobcats, red-shouldered hawks, wood turtles and box turtles, marbled salamanders, worm-eating warblers, and barred owls.
We hear barred owls on and off throughout the year, and occasionally they hoot so persistently that we barely notice. A few months ago, in September, two or three barred owls moved onto our hillside and barked and growled and hooted at each other literally every night for a month.
This morning, when I drew back the curtains, I noticed the splayed outline that a bird of prey had made in the snow as it dropped from a white oak to nail an animal. A barred owl? I don’t know. It left no blood or feathers or bones. Owl or hawk, it made a beautiful, feathery pattern that should serve as a warning to whatever creatures are passing near the bird feeder.