I am more confident now that raccoons (and maybe possums) are what she is barking at in the evening in the dark. I do think the deer are not that bold.
Later my mood was smashed. Carrie came running from the front room and wanted out NOW. I looked out to see Marlowe with a yellow form in her mouth. Carrie gallows over, steals it from her, and it takes me a few minutes to recover the hooded warbler's body. I take it to the glade, and bury it in the leaves underneath the copse of trees. I sit on the bench in front of St Francis and hope that i am doing more good for critters on the whole than not, knowing the lithe, grey angel of the hunt that is Marlowe has years ahead of her. Edward was a competent hunter as well and could probably still manage rodents, reptiles, and amphibians. (I can't imagine him catching birds now; he did in California.)
I know people have more enclosed spaces to keep cats from expressing all their predatory instincts. We've compromised on our fencing investment: deer out, dogs and cats in. Big enough for Carrie to run laps. My fruit trees have to cope with shade, but the chestnuts will be more or less protected from squirrels by Carrie. Part of the compromise is there is no separate "catio" and Marlowe is hunting. I guess i should prune the lower limbs of the spicebush plants back in that wild corner. I think one of the young dogwoods is already infected anyhow. Maybe a bigger gap between ground and branches will help the song birds.
On a slightly different note -- how was Carrie able to know that Marlowe had the bird?