When we Americans reference a "sitting duck" we are speaking of someone who is vulnerable. The correct term is probably "sEtting duck" and has its origins in the agricultural understanding that most fowl will set on their nests for the 21, 28, or 31 days necessary to hatch young.
Setting fowl will bear with heat, cold, rain, lack of food and water in order to incubate those eggs! They also have to fight off wild predators of all kinds which are trying to get their eggs or newly hatched young. I've seen some pretty tough mamas, willing to fight literally to the death to protect their young.
Last night, my husband walked in to just such a scenario in the goose house.
Every evening, we feed the geese and close them up for the night. Yesterday, there was a black cat attacking a setting goose in order to get her goslings. The goose was killed.
Now, when it is a fox you know that it is probably going to feed its kits with the livestock or fowl it kills. I know that cat wasn't particularly hungry, nor was it going to feed its young. It, like skunks and possum, just enjoys killing newly hatched birds and fowl.
Geese are lovely animals with tons of personality. Sure, I know that cats can be lovable pets as well. I don't dislike them. We tolerate neighbors' cats in our barns and fields. However, I sure wish they'd be aware of the destruction cats can do to songbirds and poultry and waterfowl. I wish they'd keep them inside their homes so that they can enjoy their company without endangering our livestock.
I'm not shy to tell dog owners to keep dogs away from our goats. There are clearcut laws regarding the killing of livestock by dogs. Of course, the first thing I hear is that "Fluffy would never hurt a flea" or some such. Every year, goats are run and killed by packs of Fluffies who are just doing what nature dictates.
Is it time to make laws that will impose a financial penalty on cat owners as well?