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Monday, April 1, 2013

Birds of Prey. {Nature Study Monday - April}

So, there I was, walking exactly 6.0 mph (I happen to know this for a fact, because I was on the treadmill). I was reading, I can't remember what, but whatever it was, I'm sure it was interesting. When what to my wondering eyes doth appear, but a BIRD OF PREY right outside my window.

Let me tell you, I tried not to fall off the treadmill. I tossed my kindle *gently* onto a nearby bed, grabbed my camera (always close by), and high tailed it toward the kitchen which is in the other extreme of the building we call home.  I suspect I may have pushed speeds upwards of 9.0 mph, but there's no telling for sure. I ran out the back door, up the stairs, over the ramp (I stepped softly 'cause it's made of metal, and I thought for sure it'd scare the bird away) and back through the length of the second floor of our 'building', which is under construction, over to the opening, that would be a window if it wasn't the size of an oversized garage door, stopping directly over the room with the treadmill.

Are you still with me?

Well, you'll be glad to know that the bird was still there too. He was right there on the wooden post that holds up all those ugly wires. You know, the one I'm generally ill-favored towards because of it's unsightliness. Yes, that one. Well, I couldn't have felt happier that day about the post. It upheld a bird I'd never seen before in our neighborhood. And it was a big bird. And for some reason, these things make me wild with delight.

I know, I'm weird like that.

Anyway. I took pictures. I listened to him. I was delighted. He was so... stately.

Not long after I watched him fascinated for a few minutes, I turned and saw, perched on the lines of the post nearest to where I stood, that there seemed to be a gathering of all of my regular bird friends. The nice little birds that visit us every single day, their very regularity is such that I can measure the time of day by their visit. The colorful, cute, conversational ones, that come around in pairs. They all seemed to be looking nervously in the same direction.

Suddenly to my horror, the previously perceived admirable bird, non-chalantly flew over to a nearby undecidedly bushy tree where I happen to know there are several of the friendly birds' nests. He flapped down directly from the top and landed there in the uppermost part and subsequently seemed to be pouncing and flouncing his wings all the while maintaining his incessant piercing calls. I even thought I heard baby birds, but I didn't want to believe it. And there I was, filming it. A Bird of Prey.

I stayed all the way to the end. I tried to communicate my condolences to the grave gathering on the power lines nearby. I stood appalled at the seeming injustice of it all, but mostly just felt compassion for my little domestically minded friends, who sat there thinking about how they would start their families over next year and hope for the best, I suppose. I tried to send telepathic messages warning that they'd better try and hide their nests a little better and not put them so near the top of the tree bush next time. What else can you do?

I continued to watch the hawks, in disapproval as he and she (there were two, actually) flew around the neighborhood, stopping at all the tallest places taking similar action as the one had performed upon our nearby tall tree-ish bush. And I mourned all the baby birds. The kids joined me for this second tree-hopping part, and we ran from opening to opening (someday they'll be windows), watching and listening. I didn't tell them everything I knew and all that I suspected. Not yet.

We watched our solemn doves, out early that morning. I imagined they were sad too. I had found their eggs empty and broken on the floor of the second story only a couple of weeks before. Empathetically, they looked down on us and cooed.

Why am I shocked by these things? We know it happens. But my mother heart can't help remonstrating at these birds' seeming mercilessness. Why can't they just eat the annoying things, like rats. Or even the frogs. The frogs keep us awake at night when it's rainy. The things that annoy me. Because I am the center of the universe, right? Well, there are answers and there are probably even deeper parallels that someday will be revealed to me. Until then, I comfort myself with the thought that God sends food for the little birds and for the hawks too.

Later, Siah and I took out the field guide, and he discovered that the bird of prey was called a 'Roadside Hawk'. And though, slightly disappointed that it wasn't something more tropical, I was happy to be able to put a face with a name.

Multiple times in the days since, Siah has brought up the Roadside Hawk. He seems proud of his new acquaintance. I did fill him in on what Roadside Hawks eat, and he was quick to console me by telling me that he already knew. He'd seen 'the red on the hawk's chest feathers in the picture'. He seemed to take it all in stride and think none the worse of Mr. Hawk. And I'm glad for that.

B. m. occiduus (Bangs, 1911) – east Peru, west Brazil (south of Amazon, west of Madeira River) and north Bolivia.

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TL Glaser said...

We "weird" people who get giddy over things like that need to stick together!!!

We had similar story when my son was a boy. Our chipmunk whisperer was trying to train them to eat from his hand. One day, he came into our house, crying about the dog. "Loa broke a rule! She ate a chipmunk!"


Richele said...

Your vivid account caused those same feelings to rush over me in a wave. My boys respond so much matter-of-factly than I. When we become mothers, we become mothers to the the whole world of children and creatures.

amyinperu said...

the change is truly amazing... :) thanks for saying hello, friend!!

amyinperu said...

i'm sticking with YOU, my friend, for certain, whether you like it or not. ;)

amyinperu said...

thanks, dawn. and thank you for taking the time to say, hi. :)

amyinperu said...

before that day, i hadn't seen any in my neighborhood, though i'm sure they do make their rounds. in the first floor of my house i have practically no windows to the outside world (at least that i can see out of). so, i just need to get out more at the key birding hours more often!! then, we too could have a raptor study! ;)

amyinperu said...

actually, what we did, i would already consider a raptor study. basically, just watching and watching, making subconscious mental notes. that's the first step anyway. :)

Celeste Cruz said...

Loved your description of the scene--and the photos! We have hawks outside often--we live across from an empty field, and they often perch on the power lines above. I have tried and tried to identify them with certainty, but I haven't been able to (frustrating). For hunting birds, they sure are skittish around people--they always fly away as soon as they see me walking across the street to get a good luck at them. Anyway, we did see one "dining"--luckily, it was on a mouse and not a baby bird. ;)

Celeste Cruz said...

Oh, by the way--it says there's a linky...but in that area, it says "Linky Tools subscription expired." Just wanted to let you know!

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