Predator

2010

One warm summer afternoon while working at my desk, I was suddenly distracted by a cacophony of frantic bird sounds. Running up to my window, I saw a terrified, ruffled starling chick cornered by a dozen menacing crows in a parking lot. Afraid that it might be too late, I raced downstairs to save the little bird, just in time to see a nasty crow pin the screaming, struggling chick down with a big black claw and strike it hard on the head with its beak. I charged the crows and they scattered reluctantly, leaving a crumpled little form sprawled on the hot pavement.

Wounded, scared and gasping for air, the little bird’s chest rose and fell quickly as a bright red stain began to spread around its bloodied head. I noticed the starling’s mother perched on a nearby car, crying out desperately for her baby. Wondering if bird mothers grieve over their lost children, I scooped up the bleeding chick and carried it away from its frantic mom, separating them forever. She could do nothing for it now. Unable to gauge the extent of its injury and unable to treat it myself, I took the chick to the animal hospital for help. I will never know whether the little startling lived or died in their care, but I do hope that it recovered. I like to imagine it grown up, eating worms in a tree and having its own baby chicks.

When I handed the injured bird over to the vet and described how the crows had attacked it, the nurse shook her head and whispered empathically, “Predators!”

 

Materials:

Cast bronze helmet was made from a found crow’s skull and found starling’s feet; engraved porcelain tattoo. Ball-jointed porcelain, china paint, industrial springs, magnetic mohair wig, leather. 13.5” (34.5cm) tall.

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