I Was Sad, but I Couldn’t Look Away

backyard birds-5927

We watched her build the nest for weeks.

It grew much larger than we expected.

It grew much larger than we expected.

We were thrilled to see three chicks.

We were thrilled to see three chicks. (The beak of the third chick is barely visible behind the second chick)

During the week, my reported that a snake got into the nest, although how was unclear. Two chicks survived.

On Thursday, my wife reported that a snake got into the nest, although how was unclear. Two chicks survived and I got this shot on Saturday morning. We weren’t sure how the snake had gotten up under the eaves, but assumed it would not need to eat again for a week or so.

I looked forward to photographing the mother feeding the chicks.

I looked forward to photographing the mother feeding the chicks, and was most concerned about finding a better angle for photographs.

But Saturday afternoon, I came home to this horrific tableau.

But Saturday afternoon, I came home to this horrific tableau.

oriole and snake-6647

The adult oriole tried frantically to disrupt the snake.

oriole and snake-6565

The snake had already dropped a dead chick to the ground. He wasn’t letting go of this one.

oriole and snake-6661

Eventually, the snake dropped about twenty feet to the ground with his prey.

oriole and snake-6675

I felt awful, but I couldn’t look away. I’m a photographer.

The bereaved. I cannot begrudge the snake his nature. I photographed him as I stood beside my BBQ grill, where a slab of cow was sizzling. Still, we had come to view the oriole family as neighbors, and I feel sad for the mother's loss.

The bereaved. I cannot begrudge the snake his nature. I photographed him as I stood beside my BBQ grill, where a slab of cow was sizzling. Still, we had come to view the oriole family as neighbors, and I feel sad for the mother’s loss.

3 Comments

Filed under Nature Photography

3 responses to “I Was Sad, but I Couldn’t Look Away

  1. myrna

    tears … just heartfelt tears and condolences … nature in the raw

  2. Jude Conroy

    Was that a rattler Dean? I feel so sad for momma Oriole. 😦

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