After an evening church event and then delivering Celia to karate class, Jon and I arrived home at around 8 p.m. It was already well after dark, so I went in and turned on the oven to prepare some dinner while Jon went out to put the birds away. After a few minutes, I stepped outside to hear Jon say something along the lines of, "Something's been here."
He was closing up the Indian Runner ducks in their little coop and said there were only five--the male, Eric, was missing. I walked over to the big coop (where our chickens and Pekin ducks live), and with the shed flood lights on I could see white feathers (of what I soon realized was one of our chickens) strewn all across the yard with blood and guts everywhere. I went into the coop to see the other three chickens cowering together on their roost and three (of our four) white ducks huddled together in the corner--one of them was a bloody mess.
Jon gave me a flashlight and we started sweeping out toward the east field to see if we could find our two missing ducks or even the culprit. We saw a pair of golden eyes out by the south fence line. Something looking quite like a beast of a bobcat in the dark looked back at us as we crept closer. The fiend darted into the tree line, looked back at us with those eyes a few feet higher up in a tree, and then disappeared before Jon could take a shot.
So he started sweeping the area again and discovered two raccoons up in one of our persimmon trees. Those little buggers were quickly dispatched of with a couple of rounds of 22. They dropped less than five feet from our 16-foot trailer. We scanned the unlit parts of the yard again and then went on to scour the north field when our flashlights caught a pair of bright green eyes looking at us from under the trailer we had just been next to a few minutes previous.
We slowly walked back over to the persimmon trees with both of our flashlights lighting up those spooky green eyes the entire time as whatever it was strangely watched us approach. Jon crouched down to take a shot--told me to stay back, thinking it was the bobcat. He took a shot and we got a bit closer and realized it was a big ol' coyote--it had been there under the trailer, not ten feet away from us while we were inspecting the coons just a few minutes earlier.
When we finally got back inside we realized our favorite cat, StormFly, was missing from among the other four that had bolted inside when we first got home. About an hour later, after we'd had some dinner, Jon decided to go scour the fields again. We didn't find the missing ducks--or any indication of them--but my flashlight lit up a pair of eyes running up from the walnut grove. Stormy must have been in a tree hiding after the whole ordeal. He seemed rather hesitant to come back up to the yard--even safe in my arms!
This morning we left all fowl penned up to rest, and Jon found the fourth Pekin duck badly injured and hiding under the back porch steps. We're still hoping to find Eric once we get home.