Nemo's had a mixed history with the birds in our yard. I've always thought he was a friend of the backyard birds, but occasionally they'll wind up in his mouth. Not alive. I've seen him stick his head into a bush to look for them. I tell myself he's just curious, that he's not intentionally trying to harm them. But he IS a dog, after all, and dogs DO kill things.
I had no definitive evidence until today. The little yellow finches are late nesters. Their little ones are just leaving the nests about now. While I was refilling the finch feeders, Nemo occupied himself with something in the yard. I looked over to see what he'd found and...you guessed it: it was a baby yellow finch!
I blurted "Nemie?!" in surprise. He looked at me with a quizzical expression, opened his mouth and deposited the fledgling onto the lawn. A little wet, but unhurt.
Yay, Nemie! You're NOT a bird killer! You really were just curious! The young bird flew a few feet, then had to rest. I took all the dogs inside - no need to press our luck (or the bird's!) - and have been watching him hop from place to place. I'll have to re-check the yard before I let the dogs out again, just in case he's still hanging around.
Do I think there will be dead birds in Nemo's future? Of course. He's a dog. He's curious. He has strong jaws and sharp teeth. Even if he doesn't mean to hurt them. But at least this little guy made it in - and out - of Nemo's jaws safely.