An omen on the lawn

It would be difficult to imagine a scene less adapted to brutal drama than the garden outside our kitchen window yet death does play there in front of our eyes. On Monday I was startled by a thump and a squeak, like the air going out of a tennis ball, and looked out to see a small hawk hunched on the lawn, with something black and indistinct beneath its talons. Its tail feathers were spread out, brown and barred with black and grey; the shoulders were raised, and the wings half shrouded what it was doing. The hawk was facing away but I had the impression it had landed after the momentum of its stoop had carried it down from the fence. I made a sound of some sort and it flew about five yards further away; its first landing had been no more than twenty feet from where I sat. I could see something, tattered, hanging in its talons. There was another brief interlude, something between a shuffle and a struggle, and it took flight over the garden shed and away.

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2 Responses to An omen on the lawn

  1. ShaunR says:

    Oh yes, the suburban sublime. One hunts in my garden, too.
    Birds of prey are, perhaps, too ready metaphors. Pale Male – the Red-tailed Hawk who hunts in Central Park – stands in a song on Steve Earle’s latest album for the gentrification of the city; that New York’s now just for those at the top of the food chain.
    And there’s that wonderfully unhealthy book by J.A. Baker set on the Dengie peninsular with pursuit of Peregrines as flight from everything else.
    Not true of all raptors, though. There are Buzzards around Quendon, but, although massive, they’re scavengers and don’t carry the same charge as does even your little backyard assassin.

  2. John says:

    Very cool that you got to witness this. A reminder that though nature is a beautiful thing, it is a dangerous place for all creatures. There is always something a bit larger prowlying around looking for a meal.

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