Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sparrowhawk

I stepped outside of the kitchen door and my eyes were immediately drawn to the sky, to the Sparrowhawk soaring on the wind, searching for prey. Although my eyes are not good and I found myself to be without my specs, the light seemed to shine in such a way as to make visible the light brown colours on the underside of the bird.

This airborne hunter, hungry for a meal, drew overlapping circles in the sky while scouring the gardens below using it's spectacular vision to seek out a target bird. For a short while it became hidden from view by the rooftops of the neighbouring houses, but soon it was back in sight and I stood watching it, quite simply enjoying the moment.

I suppose I was waiting to see the wings fold and the for the hawk to drop from the sky, to swoop down onto some unsuspecting bird be it young, old, sick or just unlucky to have become the victim, an item of food. On this occasion as I watched, the Sparrowhawk did not meet with any success and it continued to circle, moving further away until I could no longer see it in the sky.

Would it be successful in the hunt for a meal this evening I wondered. How often does a hunt conclude with a kill, I do not know. I have been fortunate in the past to witness Sparrowhawks attack and kill prey, to take birds on the wing and on one memorable occasion saw the hawk fly full speed into a hedge then reappear with a blackbird gripped firmly in its talons.

But therein lies the sadness, the harsh reality. While we glory in the kill of the bird of prey, it is the end of the life for the bird that became the victim maybe the very same birds that we feed and nurture.

This I guess is nature and an inescapable fact of life.