Great story, lovely description-- thank you (made me smile)
Quoting alison wagner <[log in to unmask]>:
> G'morning Birders!
> I love seeing the impressions birds leave in the snow to tell their story,
> whether it's a junco meandering along the deck looking for random seeds or
> "angel wings" gently touching the snow surface on take off. One of my
> favorite track tales I was fortunate to see take form several years ago. A
> grouse sprang up from its snow cover and left three sets of wing beats,
> progressively shallower impressions with each stroke. Its bulky body's
> impressions indicated it took two strokes to get airborne. To lighten the
> load, it left a few gifts centered in the last track.
> Yesterday, while sledding and making snow angels with a playful five year
> old, we discovered another awesome track. It told the story of predator &
> prey and filled us with wonderful possible scenarios. Situated on the outer
> edge of a shrub that had only a few inches of clearance above the level of
> snow, wings fanned out, almost in a complete circle except for a gap at 6
> and 12 o'clock. The spacing between each bone perfectly spaced, it's
> simple beauty struck us both. It reminded me of lines on a protractor, or
> forked impressions meticulously arranged on the edge of a pie crust, or a
> child's drawing of a sun with rays. The center where the predator's body
> barely made contact with the snow and the length of the radiating wings
> immediately brought Shrike strike to mind and 12:00 marked the abrupt end
> for an innocent foraging critter. We imagined several scenarios before
> returning to sledding.
> Within minutes, the prone sledder, careening off course, cruised through
> the garden, crushing the dried bee balm which released a delicious,
> lingering scent before over running the bird track. It erased all evidence
> of a life ended and a captured and consumed meal ...leaving us with just
> the memory of the discovery and this mystery to share.