• • • • •[And so, with this twofold flourish, the saga of the Christmas tree-turned-refuge [here] ends for another year. As part of yesterday’s yard clean-up the old Christmas tree, dried and browning, was dragged off to its final reward on the hilltop brushpile, having done yeoman’s duty these many months as the go-to hideout for small birds hoping to flee the clutches of the marauding Cooper’s hawk. The birds—hunters and victims—are now on their own until next New Year’s Day 2010, when the next tree, its decorations removed, is given new duties as shelter and sanctuary.]
Monday, May 4, 2009
LOOKING FOR RESPECT
Life can be trying. Even a regal Cooper’s hawk must suffer the occasional demoralizing round of respectability issues. As is so often the case in these matters, they occur when you least expect them. Here you are, jetting around the neighborhood hunting circuit in your best stealth mode, dropping unannounced into the midst of your favorite birding hotspots…and gloating with pride as your fearsome visage strikes instant fear in the hearts of those who often shortly become prey. You’re having a swell time—shocking, intimidating, terrorizing. Plus you get the occasional warm snack. What fun! What glorious bloody fun! And then you notice…some of your fellow citizens simply refuse to take you seriously. Was it something you did? Someone you ate? What unknown faux pas initiated your obvious fall from grace. Aren’t you still the noble, awesome Cooper’s hawk? Mr. Death-On-the-Wing? Well, nope. Not if you’ve just landed on the Christmas tree now recycled as a handy refuge for those sparrows and finches regularly startled by your sudden attacks—only to find the other bird in the yard happens to be a Canada goose. A goose who apparently wrote the book on belligerent and certainly outweighs you many times over. A goose which watched you arrive, then quickly headed your way—neck bowed, hissing like a viper, showing every sign that he intended to peck your talons off should you hang around. Retreat was indeed the prudent decision. Then, a few days later…same dried-out Christmas tree. You land on the ground—after first checking around for that danged goose—and hop on inside the tangle of branches to see who might be cowering therein in delicious horror. What you don’t see is the grayish blur which races from the corner of the cottage to the refuge tree, sneaks around the other side…and has the temerity—the chutzpah!—to attack you! Egads! Why, it all but scared you witless! And so, once you’d gotten your feathers rearranged, you crouched on the nearby picnic table and gave that ridiculous feline a piece of your mind: Listen, buddy! Didn’t you learn your lesson last week on that gray squirrel? Scrawny cats don’t try and snatch Cooper’s hawks. We are the predators…not the prey! Does it listen? No, of course not. Cats never listen. And this overreaching puss wouldn't even deign to look your way and take his berating like a man…er, cat. In your face one moment, grabbing at you in total effrontery, scaring the bejeezus out of you—and it won't even look your way, acknowledge your presence, say: Sorry, my mistake. That, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with the world nowadays…respect is hard to come by, and nobody says they're sorry. What's a hawk to do?