I am walking home near the college's natural history museum and on the lawn out front I see what looks like a large turkey. How cute. The museum got a live turkey for the kids. As I get closer I realize it's a gigantic hawk slowly eating a pigeon. It's picking away the feathers and making a pile of white and gray down. Slowly a crowd gathers. A man takes a picture. Bicyclists pull over and lean on one leg. People try to get a little closer. The hawk ignores them. I wanted to yell out, "Someone should call the newspaper!" but I was afraid everyone else had seen this kind of thing a lot.
Eventually the hawk finishes and spreading its great wings, takes to the sky and lands on the top of a tree. Everyone slowly walks away. We should maybe start a club. We could all meet every year at the same time, sort of like survivors of some great disaster, or followers of a secret religion, passing notes at certain parts of certain cities, at certain times, and the envelopes have a stamp with a hawk on it, like Masons. Well not really like Masons, more like Rosicrucians. I tell my wife who in some ways doesn't really believe me, or at least thinks the hawk wasn't that big.
My doctor tells me about some hawks he had seen and how they had a fight with some crows. The hawks won. Those hawks just come in and take over everything. It's likes the man next door who always rearranges my recycling. I think am doing it right but then I notice the next morning he has changed it. Well, later I am walking across the bridge that crosses the highway. I have to close my eyes and guide myself across using the railing. I also have to keep my head down so no one will see me walking across with my eyes closed because I hate to have to explain this kind of thing. Just as I was about to close my eyes, I look up and see three hawks flying over the river. The other birds in the area, which this time of year are mainly crows, starlings, and pigeons, were all flying in weird angles, zigzagging across the sky. I was trying to take it all in, but things were turning into chaos all around me with the birds and the cars driving under me and I had to close my eyes and just hurry across.
Sometimes I walk to work and sometimes I take the bus. This day I decided to walk so I could try and spot another hawk, even though taking the bus would mean I could sleep later. To take the bus I have to take the subway two stops and then transfer. To walk to work it's just walk, walk, walk until I' m there, about thirty minutes. I have to make a decision, though, the night before. I need to have an overall sense of where I will be located in time and space. Sometimes it will suddenly feel like the abyss is opening up underneath me. This produces anxiety. Walking to work or taking the bus are fixed positions bordering the void. I like to know where I stand.
Right near where I had seen the first hawk, I heard what I thought was the cranky song of the blue jay. But as I kept walking I realized it sounded more piercing and high pitched, like a big hawk or falcon that one would usually see on the arm of the Beastmaster or someone who could talk to animals. This might be a hawk, so I started looking around and suddenly this hawk comes straight out of nowhere right towards me flying in wild loops and I see right on his tail is a crow. The crow was going after him full steam, and the hawk was trying everything to get away. Eventually he flew to the top of this house and the crow took one last swoop at him and flew away. That was really something. When I told my wife it still seemed to me that she thought I was exaggerating a little bit.
I was walking home and I saw some crows really going wild all over the place. The crows were shooting in and out of trees over the traffic and around the buildings. I was trying to watch them, and people were passing me and I was wondering why they were not interested in this display. Then I saw it. A hawk went flying by and behind him were three crows in dead heat. Other crows were perched in the trees and they were making an awful ruckus. Crow ruckus is one of the best kinds of ruckus, all clicks and caws. Eventually I lost sight of them. I kind of hoped the hawk got away, but don' t tell any of the crows I said that.
When I am walking home there was no mockingbird in the parking lot. There is usually this one mockingbird that sits in a small reddish tree that is on a little grassy area. He's pretty good too. I was going to do Karaoke last night but my sinuses were really bad. So, this mockingbird is one of the best I have heard. So this in itself is peculiar, but what was even more so was the hundreds of starlings singing like mad in the trees. My wife thinks they sound like swing sets, or a bicycle. All of a sudden they are all out of the trees in this huge flock flying round and round fairly close to the ground. Now what? I look and right inside the flock are two hawks crisscrossing back and forth trying to grab a starling. People are just walking by like they see this kind of thing all the time.
I start to run back to work to call someone. People need to know. I keep looking back to see what is happening and the hawks are just having no luck at all. I will call my local Audubon society and tell them. They will understand, and I will get a pin and my name in a monthly flyer. There might even be a discounted subscription of some kind. I get into the office and the guard says hello and I notice it is a different fellow than usual and he is kind of grumpy looking. I decide to just wait until later and that night when I am about to tell my wife I see that she is sleeping so I say nothing.
About the author:
Peter Bebergal lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the lovliest young child named Sam that the world did ever see.