While walking near Puget Sound in the middle of the day, I encountered a pair of white wings dangling from the branches of an alder tree. Each wing was bound to other with a tether of tendons and gristle. The wings were thick, well formed wings from a massive gull. At first I thought maybe they were the wings that belonged to a bald eagle that I’d seen in the forest near Salt Water State Park. I’d seen bald eagles flying over the beach and as they flew the other birds disappeared. I thought maybe some poacher had removed the body of the bird and discarded the wings. But likely bald eagle wings are worth just as much money if not more than other part of the bird. Instead it seemed more likely the wings were the remains of a meal from some animal that could kill a gull and consume the gull from the top of a tree. Likely it was the leftovers from the meal of a bald eagle rather than the remains of an eagle. As I walked I wondered at how often I see the remains of animals. The streets of my neighborhood are lined the carcasses of raccoons, possums, and cats.
My cat brings to the house the bodies of birds, rats, and mice. He leaves them on the doorjamb in at tidy bundle as an offering or payment in rent. The other day there was the grisly head of some bird. Considering how packed my neighborhood is with people I am surprised actually at how efficiently the remains of people are removed.