Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Birds

Yesterday the battle of the bugs presented itself outside my fourth-floor window. Today I watched eight blackbirds harrass a cooper's hawk back and forth over the 6th Precinct of the Baltimore County Police. The hawk got fed up and perched atop a light pole here in downtown Towson. The blackbirds took turns diveboming him, but always wheeled away at the last minute. The hawk was unperturbed. At best he was bemused to have somebody all up in his face like this. Whenever a blackbird got too close he'd feint at it with his beak. Eventually they gave up pestering him and took up watch at a tree across the parking lot. This restful phase of the stand-off lasted a good 45 minutes; I cranked out 15 pages of lesson plans in the meantime. The blackbirds sat at the top of the tree, the hawk remained on his pole. The hawk kept his back to them, they kept their eyes on him. Finally, the hawk swooped in a long graceful arc down to and under some azalea bushes by the courthouse parking garage. On the way he was nearly squished by a public works vehicle which braked for what must have been a giant brown and white streak across the driver's field of vision. As soon as the hawk had spread its wings the blackbirds were in hot pursuit, but they didn't follow him to the ground, instead choosing to give up the chase.

Not ten minutes later the hawk emerged from his groundlevel hidey hole and flapped up mightily, startling a gaggle of hot-dog bearing business suit women headed back to the office. I've seen this same bird over at the Towson High track many times, and have seen him fight blackbirds over there too.

If birds be potent omens, what does this portent foretell?

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