Monday, November 17, 2008


I was out there this fine early evening finishing up with splitting firewood (what else? actually, I also earlier transplanted about 500 onion sandwiches worth of red and white onions) when I heard Dr. Crow up there atop his pole, where he likes to make random stops during the day to gather key information on general Brady activities (such as onion planting) and where at evening he always makes his final stop to survey his vast realms, make sure everything is buttoned down for the night just the way he likes it, before winging off to his forest penthouse.

But the sound I was hearing from the good doctor was not his usual raucous yet commanding note; it was more like a caHOINK, caHOINK, caHOINK, caHOINK, ongoing at regular deep-breath intervals. Finally I looked up and shouted to the dark silhouette up there: “Whadda you, been hangin’ around with pigs or sumthin?” (We’re completely informal amongst ourselves up here on the mountain.) But then my eyes focused and it wasn’t Crow I was talking to, it was a much bigger silhouette, in fact it was a huge pinecone of feathers up there like I’d never seen, going caHOINK, caHOINK, caHOINK, then my eyes focused more and I saw the scimitar beak: it was Master Hawk, standing austerely silent in his humungifying pineconeness. So where were all the caHOINKs coming from?

Then I saw Hawk turn and look down like a king at a peasant, and out from behind the pole, hopping mad on the wires below Hawk, came Crow, caHOINKing up at the usurper of his rightful place, trying to be annoying enough to get Hawk to take wing, because then Crow would have the advantage and could chase him away. Hard to believe, but in airborne tangles, floppy-flying Crow is more agile; but when sitting there like that in Crow’s fave spot (and right at Realm surveying time, no less!) Hawk had the upper wing-- all he had to do was put on his impressive featherbristle show to double his size, and it was working.

Crow would be just about to attack but then think better of it, honing his razor beak overandover on the wire and mumbling Ok, Ok, this time I really mean it, you better watch out, and then a little bit of a Crow feint and those huge bristly wings up there would instantly spread their WHOA! shadow and Crow would have second thoughts a fourth time and then a tenth (birds have lots of time for this kind of stuff). Finally Crow cawed The Hell with This and flew away with a huffy wingbeat yelling an angry hacking sound you could tell he was really pissed, he never flies that straight or with that intensity, grumbling all the way to his penthouse.

Hawk savored his victory, remaining proudly bristly as he surveyed HIS realm, which interestingly included one strange featherless biped, engaged in an odd activity involving what appeared to be segments of trees.


Tabor said...

Oddly enough the crows have the upper hand here and it is the Osprey that eventually heads off with a shrug of the shoulder.

Elizabeth (Beth) Westmark said...

When living in the Smokie Mountains, we had the good fortune of having a hawk family as close neighbors. Watching (& listening) to them training their young in the fierce scream and the sudden dive was unforgettable.

Thanks for a great early morning read! I am visualizing the whole scene.

Maggie said...

Here we have crows outside the front, and far down the hill lives a red tailed hawk. So far we have detante.

Mary Lou said...

The crows win over the eagles everytime here. But then Eagles can be quite cowardly for all their majestic looks.

Bob Brady said...

The crows usually win around here too, at least during the daytime, when they can call their gang together; a hawk gets nervous when confronted by two or more crafty crows. I think in this case he won because it was getting dark and the other crows had begun settling in for the night, having successfully sussed out their own realms, since none answered blackfeather's call for assistance. Hawk seemed to take an unusual pleasure in his victory too; he remained pineconey for quite a while after it was no longer necessary.