Sunday, May 19, 2013

State of Nature - The Hawk Sage Continues

It turns out that hawks do hunt in their nesting area.  

I had read the opposite point of view during my research on what to expect from the pair of raptors that have taken up residence in one of our oak trees.  And I was beginning to believe that we might be in for a perpetual state of peace in our little neck of the woods based on the fact that, to date, no acts of hawk-versus-anything violence had occurred on or near our property.
Then the weekend came, and Mars was eyewitness to two events that indicated our area was changing from a pre-reptile Garden of Eden into British Philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ “State of Nature”, wherein life is “nasty, brutish and short”.
Saturday morning I went to work on our community rose garden with some members of my men’s garden club.  Mars lingered at home, and then took the two-mile walk to the site of my labors from which we rode home together.
She didn’t mention anything in the Jeep but after we de-embarked in our driveway she walked quickly over to our other vehicle, a red PT Cruiser, and told me to look at the roof and tell her what I saw.   
This being the pollen season, a coat of fine, yellow powdery stuff covered the surface, and I was expecting to see the outlines of cat’s paws – but instead I was greeted by what looked to be the aftermath of frenetic attempts to randomly brush away microscopic grains of male procreationary desire.
I said nothing and must have looked perplexed because Mars quickly said, “The hawk!”
 “The hawk?”
“The hawk!  I was reading the paper and noticed him sitting on top of the bird feeder stand, looking down at the flowers in the flowerbed below.  As I got up and moved closer to the door I saw a squirrel scurry out from the Rudbeckia patch and dart under the car.
 “The hawk quickly followed after him and tried to land on the roof – but he kept sliding and flapping and slipping until he gave up and flew back up to the nest.”
“Wow!” was the best I could come up with as I looked around at our – at the moment – totally squirrel-free landscape.  The tree rodents did however return later in the day.
On Sunday morning Mars went downstairs and opened the front door for our early morning hawk-check.  She stepped out to get a glimpse of the aerie, but nothing was happening.  Then, as she was turning away and closing the outer storm door, she sensed movement in her periphery vision and looked up to see the hawk gliding across the lawn at about her eye level, again in full pursuit of one of our gray bushy-tailed yard pets.
 Still unsuccessful the hunter peeled back like a fighter jet and returned once again empty-taloned to his home.
 A family friend “K”, who is an eagle observer for a local wildlife organization, had forewarned us “Squirrels might be safe until the chick or chicks are hatched, then all bets are off.  Food is food, what ever is the easiest to catch or prey upon.  Nature is always a lot closer than you or I think it is.”
Even though we haven’t glimpsed them, I guess the wee hawklets have seen the light – and they are hungry
It’s not bad enough that their parents appropriated the squirrel’s main residence for their home in the suburbs – now the hawks are trying to serve these former tenants as the main course on what once was the tree rat's dinner table.
Nasty, brutish and short indeed – but also, to my chagrin, pretty, darn entertaining.

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