[Tweeters] Death In The Playground

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Dec 14 19:11:56 PST 2014

Back in Everett for a few days, after being in Port Townsend for most of the month (and year). These two Puget Sound sites - which could easily be visible to one another, except for a few view-blocking islands - are remarkably different. For example; this morning I awoke to the wonderful honking of hundreds of Everett's flying "commuter geese", down from the Skagit for a day of clipping Snohomish County grass out in the valley. You ain't gonna hear that in ol' dryish Port Townsend.
Around noon I heard a big Crow commotion in the neighborhood park just next door. Around here, such a commotion usually means one of the local Bald Eagles, but in the park there are no trees, so I really was wondering. Rushing to the nearest windows -old rippled-glass windows replete with condensation - I saw a watery figure out on the park lawn. At first I thought it might be George. George is a name we have applied to our 15year old bantamweight tomcat, whom, do to his senile inability to use a catbox anymore, has been relegated to the Great Outdoors. Bird rights advocates need not be alarmed, because George, in his dotterage couldn't catch his own shadow. Checking on him last night on the back-porch, I found him calmly waiting nearby as a Opposum,about three times his size, was chowing down on his cat food. That's the way it goes sometimes.
Anyhoo, grabbing my binocs, and finding a dry window with new glass, I discovered the figure was not ol' George, but a big mama Coopers Hawk with a freshly nailed Rock Dove. I snuck out the back door, and behind some shrubbery for a clearer look. The pigeon wasn't dead yet, the hawk patiently gripping it to death in it's talons. It took awhile. This is the part, where you might wanna hit the delete button, because the dove wasn't done kicking yet, as the hawk started plucking it. Soon the hawk was dipping into red meat, not just feathers. This went on for a bit.
Then, a group of goofy kids ran into the previously empty (except for birds) park - headed for the nearby playground equipment. One of them spotted the hawk. "Oh no" I thought, having seen a lot of poor hominid playground behavior over the years. But no - these kid's knew a hawk. "Hey look, its a hawk!" several exclaimed excitedly, and started to walk toward the Cooper's. This is when my inner Control Freak flared up, but I quietly remained behind the shrubbery, not wanting to be coming off as a binocular- toting neighborhood child & bird watching pervert. Plus, what would I do except scare off the hawk myself. So I spied from behind the bush.
What ensued warmed my heart. The kids, while finally getting too close, were pretty careful about it- lacking binocs, they just wanted a closer look, just like me. The big mama Coopers finally flew - whisking that Rock Dove away with amazing ease. All the folks watching - the young, and the 'old guy' unseen in the bushes - thought that was pretty exciting. The kid's ran off to tell somebody else about it. That's the way the world goes round.
Jeff Gibsonlurking in Everett Wa

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