Looks like a duck exploded, doesn’t it? Over the weekend, a predator killed one of our ducks while they were swimming down by the Firefly Pond. When I came across the kill site, I did some careful tracking and determined this was the work of a mink that had come out of the woods, probably following the brook. It stalked the ducks from the pond, hiding behind a thicket of cattails. It snagged one of the ducks, dragged it to the bank just behind the cattails and finished it there, removing some of the neck feathers, probably while eating the head. It then dragged the duck a few feet along the bank and removed some of the down and made a hole in the chest cavity and ate the rich organ meat (the image was taken at this point in the story). Then it dragged off the remaining carcass to stash. Very neat kill. No blood. No scat. No pellets. Only one tiny fragment of skin attached to some feathers it plucked.
It will probably prowl up and down the brook for a few days, looking to prey on our other poultry, before it wanders off into other parts of its territory. But eventually it will return. So, unfortunately, I will have to trap and destroy this mink.