The parents of the baby stood not far from it, calling out in shocked exclamation. Down by the pond I could see a ruckus working its way through the rest of the flock. They were all calling out in anger, surprise and grief. They cared about this baby. It was obvious.
The ruckus was focused on one bird. The flock was challenging their leader, Milo, my favorite bird. I think what happened is that he, as head of the flock, killed the baby. I saw him picking on the little guy in recent days, which makes me lean toward this theory. Well, that and the fact that the flock was going after him.
This baby was one of only two chicks that a couple produced this year, and this chick was the smallest of all the babies in any of the broods. I think that's the story right there. Milo, as leader of the flock, killed the baby because he thought it would be a detriment to the community. Maybe he believed it wouldn't survive the rigor of the annual migration -- I don't really know.
Milo and his wife Edna have seven babies. Theirs is the largest clutch (or is that word only for eggs?) and their babies hatched first, so they're larger than the other babies. The next couple have six. Who knows? Maybe they look down on small broods. Whatever it was, this poor little guy never had a chance. The loss was upsetting not only to the flock but to me. I liked him because he was small. Today, seeing the couple walk around with only their lone baby in tow is sad.
I hope Milo doesn't kill him too.
Nature red in tooth and claw. The baby's body was completely eaten by crows within two hours of its death.