Hello, dolly
Thursday February 17th 2011, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Cold and rain and a good day to stay in today and quietly knit and answer emails, grateful for the warmth.

A small black squirrel was on my porch, a little shaggy looking against the winter, working at the gleanings from the birdfeeder hanging near the edge of the awning above; its dark fur was a little damp, the seeds more so. It flicked its tail at a few drips that made direct hits.

Something must have caught my eye though I certainly didn’t see it come in. I almost never do. It is a recurring source of wonder to me that that could be so.

She stood on the perch of a metal dolly out there, protected from the rain, the early afternoon sun showing off her gorgeous brown feathers in front, the dark top of her head hooding her, contrasting with the lower half. The gray/black stripes in her tail. She flicked it ever so slightly side-to-side, settling in.

She watched me. She watched the squirrel.

I had inadvertently chased her away from her hunt Tuesday by going outside to fill the feeder at one of those moments when it seemed like I had the whole back yard to myself. She’d been on the neighbor’s roof waiting, and I made her go hungry for the moment. We all need to eat.

And we certainly don’t lack for squirrels here.

I gauged their sizes; there would be no contest when they danced beak to cheek.

She threw her head all the way back, beak wide open, and looked for all the world like she was gargling. I would tell you what it sounded like, too, if it did, if I knew.

The squirrel stopped eating and looked at me. There seemed a little more sunflower on the patio than at times, so surely I must be ready to leap up and take the bounty away from it because, you know, you don’t just give up scrumptiousness to something that’s smaller than you.

The Cooper’s hawk watched the squirrel. She watched me.

I tried to move just slightly to get a better look only when she was turned away, and a split second later it was almost as if she were going, nuh uh uh, I saw that.

Okay, I’ll hold still then.


The squirrel, meantime, looked out towards the yard to make sure no hawk was around. Where was everybody else?

The hawk looked at it. The hawk looked at me.

And the squirrel checked every direction except the one where its predator was. Somehow, it never once looked that way the whole time. It looked to where bigger squirrels would surely come from to chase it away from its treasure.

She again arched her head back and–laughed, perhaps. Was she calling her mate? Finally, she spread those huge wings wide and glided down close and right straight over that little black squirrel, her feet kept to herself, then across the yard and away. Darwin marked the territory for later.

And the little black squirrel never once knew what didn’t hit him.

5 Comments so far
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What a picture (motion picture, that is) your words painted for me!

(I am not sure I can stand that much suspense before breakfast.)

Comment by twinsetellen 02.18.11 @ 6:18 am

Way to paint a picture. Beautiful.

Comment by Channon 02.18.11 @ 6:55 am

You have such a wonderful way with words. I held my breath the whole time I read this, thinking for sure the hawk had a tasty treat. I love a story with a twisted ending!

Comment by Jody 02.18.11 @ 7:59 am

oh, the suspense! wonderful word picture — “dancing beak to cheek” — yes, I can see it

Comment by Bev 02.18.11 @ 9:12 am

The other commenters said it all, and I agree. A 4-star rating for that word picture! Wow!

Comment by Don Meyer 02.18.11 @ 9:38 am

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