I walked out the door yesterday morning and met a winter wren on the sidewalk. There's no getting close to a tiny wren. It will scoot away into the leaves. The wren was catching bugs. It's a good sign seeing a wren.
The next dining bird was the downy woodpecker scarfing down bugs out of the tree bark.
But the best, (alas for the catch), was the red-tail hawk. I came upon this scene after the catch. "Look, an eagle", exclaimed an onlooker. I corrected that misinformation fast. "It caught a pigeon. I saw it." I looked through the lens. Not a pigeon. A yellow-shafted flicker. I told the onlookers to wait, that they'd see the evidence shortly. The hawk was going to pluck feathers and those beautiful feathers were going to come floating down.
Poor flicker, but flickers are easy prey. They hunt bugs under leaves, so they're face down in the leaves and don't see danger lurking overhead. One less flicker in the park. The hawk dined for about an hour on two different tree branches, a nice show for all the onlookers.
And 14 flicker feathers for my collection. I'm sad about the flicker, but delighted to have these beautiful soft feathers. Nature does what it has to do.