The squirrels play tag through the leaves, rustling up such a commotion that I think it must be a deer running alongside the house. No, just two gray squirrels hopping around the trees, bushy tails standing at attention behind them. They run off, taking their commotion with them and the cooper’s hawk comes into my view.
He perches 20 feet from me. So close, I can see just how large those hunter’s eyes really are and just how pointy that black beak of his really is. He’s still like a statue, and I know he is waiting for something. Every now and then, he hunches over, like a cat about to pounce on its prey. Then he stops himself short to wait quietly a few moments more. He notices me from my corner window, my camera probably giving me away. His eyes glare at me, and I hold my breath, not wanting to spoil the sport, and thankfully, he turns his eyes slowly back to his alert watching. And when the time is just right, he dives into the woods’ brown leaves, wings spread out, protecting his kill from any other predator’s view. And then he flies off, tasty reward firm in his grip, going to enjoy his dinner, I suppose.
He lands on a nearby branch and the limb totters beneath him, proving itself to be a limb simply caught among the branches. The hawk’s wings spread as the bird of prey tries to steady himself, ever before this moment, seeming so haughty and sure. His talons balance along the loose limb, his wings steadying him. The limb teeters, and I wonder if he’ll fall (as much as a bird can fall). The predator does save himself, but hops to a nearby, more secure branch anyway.
I do think he ate his lunch before this humorous balancing act, but I can’t be sure. In a moment more, I hear his mate calling for him and he flies off to greet her screeches. They pass one another through the branches and I wonder if he’ll tell her about his tasty treat or if he was supposed to share? Anyway, I very much doubt he’ll share the little tidbit of landing on an unsteady limb. Because it didn’t look very manly. I can say that for sure.