After a morning of puttering around the Queendom, FM and I had just come inside and were beginning to prepare a late lunch of soup and cold pizza. Out the kitchen window, movement caught my eye. I called out,
Look at that! Our those eagles mating?
We ran to different windows, picking up both the binoculars and the camera as we tried to get a better look.
FM answered and he was right. As we watched two full-grown Bald Eagles jostle for position, we could see that they were intent on getting the other guy out of the way.
The dominant one had finally scared the other eagle back a bit and got down to the business of eating something. What was it?
Oh my god! It’s a chicken! I saw the foot!
Oh no. It’s Benedict! Oh no!
I wailed and my eyes started welling up. How could we lose another of our flock? This cannot be happening. I stepped out on the kitchen porch to try to get confirmation. My panicked motion and voice sent both Bald Eagles and an angry Raven flying away.
We quickly donned our coats and boots (and safely turned off the soup pot burner) and ran outside. Before we left the house, he looked me in the eye and said,
There won’t be much that we can do for her.
Despite the situation at hand, it was a comical fact. There was nothing we could do. We could run over there but that was it. He was preparing his soon-to-be hysterical wife for the worst.
As FM headed straight out to the spot where the eagles had been, I ducked down under the front porch and counted. One, Two, Three. All three of our hens were cowering under the porch. Our fourth hen was safely locked in her broody pen in the garden shed. I recounted and put names to each one.
Benedict. Tweedle Dee. Chip.
With an enormous sigh of relief, I ran to catch up with FM and share the news that it wasn’t one of our hens.
The mystery chicken was, indeed, way beyond help. Already missing all the innards and the head, we couldn’t tell if it was a hen or a roo. The carcass consisted of legs and wings connected with the back bone. Orange-brown wing feathering suggested a typical Rhode Island Red. From our reading, we knew that if one of your chickens simply disappears from your flock, the culprit is either an eagle or an owl. Now we could see the truth behind it. The owners of this chicken could be our neighbours or could live many kilometers away. Probably they wouldn’t even notice their loss until their remaining chickens went to roost that night and someone counted them.
We left the chicken remains in the same place, hoping that the eagles or ravens would sate their hunger with the remainder of this chicken instead of hankering for one of ours.
Because, you know, everybody loves chicken!