The Hawk

A flash of great wings filled the window bringing me to attention. I watched (in disbelief?) as the hawk landed by the fence. I didn’t actually see the capture. I found the binoculars and focused in. There he was, the hawk, bigger than Peanut (our Dachshund) standing in the ground cover with a beautiful bright red cardinal in his talons.

My heart sank. I always thought one of the chorus would be his prey. I could handle a sparrow for his meal. They seemed so disposable. But a cardinal. I wasn’t at all ready for that.

I watched him for a while. He stood on the ground for a very long time. Maybe he was working at the cardinal with his claws, I couldn’t tell. All I could make out was a very big grey bird standing on a medium sized red bird.

And then, from what cue I don’t know, he spread his great wings and with more effort than I thought he would need, lifted himself and the cardinal off the ground to land on the fence. I was looking again with the binoculars. The cardinals black mask and yellow beak were bowed in submission. He seemed pretty dead. I hoped he hadn’t suffered.

The yard was quiet the whole rest of the day. The birds and squirrles must have watched along with me. I wondered how they were dealing with the loss.  Was he a son, a father, a brother?

Late in the afternoon, I sensed some activity. A few sparrows were back at the feeder. Then a brave cardinal ducked in. Then another. Business as usual.

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2 thoughts on “The Hawk

  1. Wow; what an awesome sight that must’ve been. I was somewhat enthralled when more and more reports of wild things moving back into urban areas were heard; seemed like nature was bringing things back to full circle. Joe told me of a similar episode in his backyard last year, with a hawk eyeing, and finally preying, on the critter crowd that Linda feeds. I’ve managed to see a huge raccoon cruising down my street, a skunk camped out in the middle of the road a few years ago, glimpsed a fox bolting for cover, and, magnificently, a coyote couple trotting down the Metra tracks several winters back. The beauty and savagery of the natural world, right there for us suburban dwellers to see…

  2. I love this piece, Anne. My heart broke too as the rhythm of life goes on even as hawks descend in our yards and fences and rob our cardinals of life. Bitter sweet! So nicely written…J

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