I notice they didn't try to fuck around with the large egret/heron (not really sure which) at the furthest field, though. It stood alone in the dirt in the middle of the field, very patient and still, looking quite pretty and out of place, right up until a ground squirrel wandered too close and it skewered the damn thing right through the heart. Daaaamn. My dear friend quietly applauded its skill.
Thus started up another round of the Great Shrike Debate. I pointed out, yet again, that shrikes are devilishly adorable and it's not their fault they've developed incredible hunting and gathering skills for a bird that small and cute. My dear friend retorts that they are also named 'butcher birds' for a reason--she thinks their habit of keeping a 'larder' by impaling still-wriggling prey on thorns, twigs, and barbed wire is creepy. She's not squeamish--her mom keeps snakes, after all--she just thinks that slow death by stake through the heart is needlessly cruel. It's not the shrikes' fault they're too tiny and efficient to know that kind of thing is unmerciful, I tell her, but she's stubborn.
I'm easy to distract: just point out a bird, especially one in flight. I love the way they fly, how they all have a different pattern of wingbeats and gliding. Sometimes I'll read "The Windhover" just to recall the feeling of watching a raptor take flight. Birds are easy to love, easy to talk about.