I know a hawk must eat too, but geesh, go to the field.
Everyday the hawk is poised to snatch a bird from the bird-feeding table. Hawk thinks the table is his feeder, not theirs. Last time he stopped by, a chickadee did not get through the day.
These are things that go on outside my office window in my bird garden that really stress me out.
I know it is Spring, but I had to wait two months before posting this story because I lost a little Tufted Titmouse that hid his seeds in the edge of my north window, here in the alcove by my office. Lost? How? The hawk. It was too stressful and not funny, even a moment. I am still traumatized for the poor thing. Shadow Hawk swooped in and hit the window and was gone. If I could have flown after him, I would have been something to contend with.
The four neighborhood cats who hunt on our property are another. For them, I stow a pile of old metal bowls and pans to throw as they pretend to run away. I am too kind, not even using pans with handles lest these cause injury. But seriously, I am buying a green paintball gun.
Hubby went out to shovel snow and the neighborhood white cat was in a box under the bird feeder, waiting. So much for the bird’s snow cover. I reminded hubby, don’t give them places to hide, the birds cannot see the cats hiding under boxes or lean-tos until they land and are nabbed.
I know we have all experienced the wild bird lost to a cat. Or an owl picking off the tiny bunny.
But the hawk at the birdfeeder
This hawk is so forward. It just sits over the birdfeeding table in the winter skeleton of the highbush cranberry tree and waits until an unsuspecting wild bird comes to feed.
But I have to ask? Isn’t there an alarm watchguard? Besides me?
What bird would come? Really. Don’t they tell one another there is a hawk in the tree. Isn’t there a warrior watch like on Tinkerbell? Besides me? Because that is what I feel like, running out there and yelling, throwing old carrots left for the deer, waving towels at the hawk. Me, warning the birds.
Is the bird that is nabbed and ‘et’ each day that unpopular?
So it’s just me then.
I run out and scare off the hawk. The hawk flies only to circle back into the seam of two tall Norway pines, lurking. Now it has more cover than the winter-bare highbush cranberry. But it is further from its hawk feeder.
I feed these birds because it makes me happy and calm, because I love to know there is a handful of wildlife that has an easier time of finding food in winter, especially on the worst days. The squirrels eat here. The deer come from the conservation lands across the street and eat at night.
I did not have red-tailed hawk on my list of birds to feed. There has to be a line.
Five minutes after I have chased off the hawk again, the birds return to eat. And I cannot stop staring out the window. You know the scenario. Knowing something awful will happen and you cannot turn away.
I needed to close the Hawk and Wild Bird Feeding Restaurant.
And I did. The bird feeding table was closed for three weeks, the only time we fed was in deep snow or ice and I was on guard, but the few days without an easy bird to target, the hawk had moved on to another feeder, or hopefully, a field where it had to make some effort.
Essa Adams, author
Contemporary women’s fiction