Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Kill a Butterfly

The other day, mid-morning, I was walking between buildings on the campus where I work and I chanced to observe a mockingbird in very erratic flight. It caught my eye and I stopped walking to watch. It was chasing a smallish yellow butterfly, trying to mimic the halting, bouncy pattern of the insect. The bird was not graceful, but it was skillful, and they lowered toward the ground as the tumbling bird closed the distance. It managed to knock the butterfly to the ground, I think with its wing, not so much on purpose as that that just happened to be the appendage that made contact. It quickly snapped the butterfly out of the grass. I didn't think that birds often ate butterflies (I'd heard they taste bad), much less that they pursue them in flight. This one sure did. It flew off more normally, consuming its lunch on the way.

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