I brought my lunch and a book into the backyard. I was thinking about how the character in my book was made aware of danger by the actions of birds. How cool would it to notice if something was different from them? Right after I thought this I looked up and asked, “What is going on?” There was quite a cacophony of birds, making noises such as I had never heard before. One of them literally sounded like a warning siren. Rrrrrrr. RRRRRrrrrrr.
Then I spotted it. Sitting on the lowest power line nearby, yet until it moved, difficult to see – a hawk.
“Oh they WERE sounding the alarm!” They continued to sound it for quite some time, though the hawk seemed more concerned with preening his/her feathers than lunch.
There is a mother and 2 or 3 baby bunnies that hang out in the yard quite a bit. Well, it looks like hanging out, but rather sustain themselves with clover and occasionally things in my garden. Some they leave alone, some I gave up on completely, and some I tried to protect with netting.
While eating breakfast one day, mama bunny came so close to me I could have easily reached out my hand to touch her. When she moved within a foot of my bare feet, I instinctively flinched and she hopped off. Maybe she was trying to endear herself to me (which she did) so that I didn’t get too upset with her pesky children. “You’re lucky I like your mother,” I said to them at least once while I chased them out of the garden.
“You might not like this but the little bunnies are gone,” my father said to me when I told him about the hawk out back.
“How do you know?”
“I saw a hawk get one the other day, and I haven’t seen the little bunnies around.”
Hmm. Well, maybe my cantaloupe is safe now. I had just taken the netting off them last Thursday because they didn’t have room to grow and that very night the bunnies went to work on it.
I saw mamma bunny this morning scurrying across the neighbor’s lawn. It’s funny - I did notice it as odd. I think the bunnies are so used to being safe here they move pretty slowly. I wonder if she knows her young are gone? I wonder if she cares? I wonder if she regrets teaching them to be so easygoing, not on guard all the time? They were always more skittish than her, but still showing by example that there is little to fear. All that work getting them going in life and then… They all hang out in the same area, so she must at least be aware.
Despite my empathy for the bunnies, I’m also grateful for the “natural pest” control, the bunny population stabilization, and for hawks which seem to have healthier numbers than when I was child. The beauty of the predator.