Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawk Tales

Just up the end of the block to our house is an empty field, about 3 acres in size. Reminiscient of the prairies that stretched for miles around the home of my youth, this field sprawls with wildly overgrown grasses and sparsely distributed thin trees. Driving by with windows down and radio off, one can hear a chorus of frogs and insects strumming away into the distance, beginning at the wide roadside ditch and increasing in volume up the other side of the embankment leading into the mystery of the tall grasses.

Birds gather along the roadside telephone wire, resting between sessions of swooping to catch tasty morsels of crunchy grasshoppers or crickets. They chitter and shuffle sideways along the wire as they adjust their positions to be just right, not tolerating encroachment on their personal space, but still desiring the companionship of their feathered fellows.

Today a solitary feathered one lurked below, but this one was a menace, not welcome in the ranks, fatly and firmly perched on a sturdy fence post. His size was enormous compared to the little tittering ones on the line above. The underside of his cross-ways striped tail feathers caught the morning sun and looked like window shades turned open, and the shadowed lines shook as he craned his neck upward, turning his head left and right, gauging the position of the sparrows and doves above him, viligant, waiting, watching, for one to take flight, and considering moving to a more advantageous vantage point.

His creamy neck feathers contrasted sharply with the black of his outlined eyes and curved sharp beak. His eyes squinted into tapered points, demarking the gleaming ovals on each side of face with purposeful hunger.

He was a red-tailed hawk, a beautiful bird of prey, common in this region. Ah, someday... someday I hope to befriend one and to observe his talented hunting skills firsthand.

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