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.