i picked up this collection of mallard feathers on my walk yesterday. it’s a not uncommon scene to happen upon on my lakeside walks. ducks, like rabbits, appear to be every predator’s favorite food. what amazes me every time though, is that this mess of feathers, usually in the middle of the trail, is so thorough and clean. as if the nocturnal predator, sat patiently pulling every single feather from its prey before hauling off the carcass. there is almost never any blood, and no body parts left behind. just a neat pile of cleanly plucked feathers. that’s it. whoever the predator is (eagle, osprey, hawk, owl, fox, coyote?) must have a way of swiftly killing the duck without a struggle and no blood (perhaps a broken neck), and additionally the dexterity to pluck the animal clean. and finally the strength to haul it away. i have no doubt that it can be done. i am constantly amazed by nature and it’s accumulated skills. i just lack the imagination to visualize the event. i sort of hope to see it one day.