A backyard slaying
This is a kereru. A fine example of the beautiful New Zealand native wood pigeon. It is a protected species, the wilful harming or killing of a kereru being a criminal offence in this country. Once sought after as a game bird, their protected status in recent years has allowed their numbers to increase and they have become a much loved visitor to domestic gardens and urban bushland whenever food sources (mostly the berries of native plants) are available.
This morning, I came upon a grisly scene on the lawn in my own back garden. A large number of feathers, which I believe to be those of a kereru, were spread over a quite large area, indicating an intense struggle between a kereru and what could only have been a stray cat (I do not own one myself). I should explain that in this country there are no lions, tigers, cougars or, in fact, any cats other than domestic moggies and and their feral progeny. The kereru is a tree bird and does not forage or roost at ground level, so I can only assume that a domestic cat has ambushed a kereru in a tree during the night, dragged it onto my backyard lawn and viciously attacked it. It must have been some struggle as these are large birds. If, by some miracle, the bird escaped, I don't imagine it would have survived the night and from the kereru's perspective that would be a merciful result.
Although I am constantly chasing stray cats from my vegetable patch which they seem to think I provide for their sole use as a lavatory, I am no cat hater. But I do believe cat owners have a civic responsibility to stop their pets from straying to where they can kill and maim wildlife and foul other people's property. There is ongoing public debate about cat control, including compulsory micro-chipping, limiting the number of cats per household, requiring most cats to be sterilised, etc, etc. Something needs to be done. The cats themselves are only doing what comes naturally to them. Cat owners need to be held responsible.
If eating carrots improves the eyesight, how come there are so many dead rabbits on the roads?