This particular story takes place one winter day when the weather was mild & all the robins were still up in the hills. They hadn't yet been forced down into the valley because there was still a lot of insect activity during the daytime. To save on chicken feed & give them a more natural diet we were free ranging the chickens and they were quite happily filling their crops with the fruits of their forage on a daily basis.
I was inside the house working on some tracking journals when I noticed the ducks outside giving off a repeating agitated alarm call. I looked out the window but saw nothing except that the ducks & a couple of the chickens were all looking towards one edge of the field that couldn't be seen from my window.
I went into a different room to get a better look and saw that the rest of our chickens were out in the front yard beside our driveway. They were all looking at something that was very directly visible from where I was now standing. My heart skipped a beat. There in the center of our driveway stood a big hungry bobcat and it had it's eye on our chickens.
I ran to the front door & opened it to go out but just as I did, the bobcat pounced, grabbed one of our chickens and bounded over the edge of the road and down the little drop-off to the creek. I couldn't believe it. That bobcat just stole my chicken!
Without even thinking about what I was doing I called out "HEY BOBCAT!" and ran to the other side of the road. When I looked down the little 10 ft hill... there down by the creek looking up at me with wide eyes was the bobcat. It was completely still and staring right at me. We looked at each other for a few seconds & I had no idea what to do. I felt torn between wanting to save the chicken & wanting to preserve my relationships with the bobcat. The tracker in me realized this was a great opportunity to observe some rare hunting behavior & bird language.
I knew it was too late for the chicken so I called out again in a less confrontational voice & said "OK, you can have it." As if the Bobcat was waiting for my permission it turned & trotted into the bushes.
As I brought my attention away from the predator I noticed that all the robins in the area were watching & making a lot of agitated calls... whinnies and tutting sounds. When I listened along the creek I could hear juncos making their characteristic tacking alarm call like the sound of stones tapping together. I listened as the alarms moved slowly through the thicket & eventually came to a stop where I assume the chicken was consumed.
Over the next 30 minutes the landscape gradually came back to harmony. The birds were feeding again & we started keeping a much closer eye on the chickens for the next time the bobcat would try to steal a meal.