The other morning in the kitchen I opened the blinds before I turned on the light. It was morning twilight, still quite dark. If not for the snow, I wouldn’t have seen anything. What I did see was out of place. A patch of black where there shouldn’t have been one.
I ran a glass of water and when I looked up, the shape of the black patch had changed. It took me a while to see that it was a large bird standing on the ground at the top of my neighbor’s driveway. It was bending down and straightening up. It didn’t take long to realize that it was probably eating something.
I did some searching on crepuscular birds of prey and narrowed it down to what I thought were the two most likely candidates: the great horned owl and the red-tailed hawk. We have both of them here. The owl hunts at night but will hunt in twilight. The hawk hunts by day but will also work the twilight. I settled on the hawk because its profile more closely matches my memory of the black silhouette I saw against the snow.
I put on my galoshes, fetched the snow shovel and ran a line out to the road, then I walked over to the neighbor’s. The snow was disturbed and discolored and there was a dark mass lying there in the dim light. Some prodding with the shovel showed it to be the head of a small rabbit, possibly a Nutall’s cottontail.
I went back and finished shoveling the driveway, then went in for coffee.