Mystery in the Enchanted Forest

Friday afternoon I went out to our coop to give the ducks and chickens fresh water. I noticed Butterfly, our very talkative hen, kind of doing a weird step. I had noticed it that morning as well, but I thought that I had almost stepped on her and she was hopping out of the way. The chickens all crowd around me when I enter their coop so it’s sometimes difficult to take a step.  Yet, her hopping step acted more as if something was causing her to stumble so I took a closer look and saw that a string from a feed bag had wrapped around her foot. I believe it happened the afternoon before when I put an empty feed bag on the floor of the coop so I could get on my knees and reach for an egg at the furthest corner of the bottom level of the coop without getting poop on my jeans. The hopping step Butterfly was taking was caused by me stepping on the string that was trailing behind her.

I picked up Butterfly and she lay calmly in my arms while I tried to untangle the string from her foot. It was too tightly fastened for me to get it off, so I put her down and went into the house to retrieve a pair of scissors, nail clippers, and a box cutter. I figured once of those items would enable me to cut the string. I went back into the coop, picked up Butterfly again, and used the box cutter to cut the string and then pull it off her foot. She lay calmly in my arms, and didn’t pull her foot away while I cut the string. I was amazed at how much she trusted me.

Yesterday morning EJ and I went to have our taxes done. We had to pay a little, but not as much as EJ feared we would have to pay. Whew. We had Lake Effect snow all day yesterday and the wind often blew the snow so the journey into town was beautiful.

Yesterday the group of Common Starlings flocked to our bird feeders. This is only the second time that I’ve seen them on our property. I think they are considered “nuisance birds” but I think they are actually quite beautiful. They feathers have such beautiful colors and patterns and their beaks are amazing.

We were watching the birds when EJ suddenly remarked that there was blood on one of the Starling’s beak. Hmmm.

Later in the afternoon I went out to care for the chickens and ducks. This is what I saw on the chicken’s feed bucket when I walked into the coop:

Yes. That is blood. I looked around and saw more blood splatter all over the coop. I felt tempted to put out police tape marking off a crime scene:

I counted the chickens to make sure they were all there: 1, 2, 3…8, 9, 10. Yup. All there. None were limping, none were dragging a wounded wing, none were oozing blood that I could see.

I went inside and told EJ about the gruesome scene. We wondered if a predator had tried to get the chickens and if Sassy had defended his harem. We wondered about the Starling with blood on its beak. I went outside and checked the chickens’ outside pen. There was no blood on the snow, no pile of feathers…so whatever had happened had occurred inside the coop. EJ came out to the coop with me and he thinks he saw blood on the roosters’ combs. He believes that the roosters had an epic battle for supremacy. Yikes.

Who knew that a coop was such a place of intrigue and drama?

It’s still a mystery why a Common Starling had blood on its beak.

Sometimes an Enchanted Forest is a dark place.

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