So I am minding my own business upstairs early one morning. (Actually I am still slumbering in my bed and not entirely awake.) I hear this strange calling in the garden and immediately it comes to my slow mind that a starling is screaming.
So I open the curtains and peer out. In the shadow of the ancient hedgerow that still survives between rows of house, and which forms the back boundary of the garden, stands a large golden brown bird. Pinned beneath the large feet of this distinctly leggy bird of prey and struggling for its life and, indeed, screaming is a juvenile starling. All the other flock members have long departed.
The sparrowhawk seems in no hurry. The starling is firmly held.
What should I do?
Many thoughts go through my mind all revolving around the issue of whether or not I should intervene. This is nature. It may be a starling from ‘my’ small flock which I have nurtured and fed and tried to guard from the local cats, but the sparrowhawk has as much right to food as the starling. The starling may already be badly hurt (the sparrowhawk has very long sharp talons on its big feet) better it is dispatched quickly, than I make some addled attempt to save it which might cause more suffering.