A Chicken??

Today I watched a coyote eating something way in the distance. The more I photographed, the more worried I became, because what was being pulled apart and eaten was rusty in color and about the size of a cat. Once I got home, by zooming into the photos I would be able to tell what this rusty thing was, but I could not tell from looking at the digital screen on the camera. Finally, I decided to check this thing out for myself directly. Yes, I would be intruding on the coyote, but I needed to find out. It was a long trek, but I got to the open field and the coyote was still working on its meal. As I came up, the coyote walked off: he wasn’t guarded or protective at all about his prey and allowed me to look at it.

I was surprised that the pile of rust was feathers! I thought to myself, “Wow, how did this coyote get a hawk? It must have been an injured hawk.” I took photos of the feathers and began to leave, when it struck me that these feathers were much too red for a hawk and there were no large feathers. It is then that the thought occurred to me that it might be a chicken. I went back, and, yes, it had to be a chicken, a fully feathered chicken. This is not a place where chickens hang out naturally.

However, I’ve been told that more and more people are keeping chicken coops in their backyards. Could this particular chicken have escaped from its coop? The other sad possibility is that this was a dead victim of a cock-fight. This illegal and cruel activity continues in our area; carcasses are tossed into wilderness areas in the hopes that the remains will be disposed of by the wildlife. This possibility was suggested to me by the director of one of our wildlife museums. She said that two years ago two roosters had been found in her park area — they had been disposed of there after having engaged in cock fighting. The last possibility is that a human tossed the chicken, either dead or alive, into the area on purpose to feed our coyotes: this also is an illegal activity. Whatever the reason, I’m hoping this was an isolated incident.

As I left I looked back to see the coyote taking the chicken to a safer place — a place where I would not find it.

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