...when you don't have your camera in hand.
I'm at my folks' house in central NY, en route to western NY for another interview. It's a good half-way point and a safe place to leave the dog for a few hours while I'm out. But, routines must be followed, so after dinner we went for a walk...in the rain.
I didn't want to do my parents' street as it is populated with other dogs who are not yard-bound, so we drove downtown to walk the sidewalks around almost 200-year-old neighborhoods. In the rain.
Because of the damp conditions, I (understandably) left the camera behind.
As we were winding up our walk, heading back to the car, I heard the sound of a bird in distress. I looked up just in time to see a medium-sized brown bird flying away from a roadside tree and across a yard with an only slightly smaller black bird dangling from its feet. A second medium-sized brown bird was flying along side. All three disappeared into some tall conifers beside a house. The birds may have vanished, but the birdcalls continued. Shortly afterwards, I watched the brown bird carry the black bird to the driveway, where it sat upon its now-silent prey.
I REALLY wanted to walk up that driveway and see who was who, but I knew the bird was likely to take off again if I approached. So I stayed put and watched as best I could in the dimming evening light, wishing I had at least brought my binocs (which were in my pack back at the house; remember - it was raining).
a) I think it was a sharp-shinned hawk in the role of predator (straight tail, from what I could tell).
b) The victim could very well have been a starling. No great loss there, except on a personal level for that particular bird.
c) Even if it is raining, take your camera along. That's why camera bags have raincoats. And bring an umbrella, which you can hold with your fourth hand, while your third hand holds the dog leash and your first and second hands get the camera out of the bag, focused, and take the photo.
Well...at least it wasn't a moose.