Today started out like most other days. We got up, filled our coffee mugs and sat down to watch the morning breakfast crew at our bird feeders. The White-crowned Sparrows and Brewer’s Sparrows were coming in in numbers with Cactus Wrens on the recycled oriole feeder munching on the peanut butter and jelly. A Curve-billed Thrasher chorkled from the top of an agave stalk adjacent to our four tiered bird pond. A small group of Scaled Quail worked their way down our “wildlife path” which leads down to the pond from the scrub land habitat behind it. As the quail drank, the smaller birds all hit the bushes in a fast panic! In a short moment only one juvenile (We call them teenagers.) Scaled Quail was left at the pond and in the blink of an eye a Cooper’s Hawk had him in his talons and had dispatched him at the pond’s edge. The hawk put the quail down and took a short drink. Then, grabbing the quail in his talons again, the hawk skittered along the ground to the path where it started to eat the unfortunate bird. After a couple of minutes the hawk flew to the top of the agave stalk, screaming loudly. A close look showed a beautiful coyote walking up the wildlife path. The coyote calmly walked up to the quail body, picked it up and carried it away to eat it back in the brush.
Scenes like this are why we always start our day in front of the bird feeders. You just never know what is going to happen and which of nature’s wonders you will have the privilege of observing.