Cold rain thickens into a downpour. A Cooper’s hawk lands in the top of a tall locust and sits preening and shaking, as if taking a shower.
The snow has vanished overnight. Now the Cooper’s hawk is camouflaged again, skimming the ground, slipping through the trees.
A love triangle of squirrels clambering through the lilac, shaking puffs of fresh snow from the limbs. The chattering call of a small hawk.
A high-speed chase through the yard—one Cooper’s hawk tailing another. Woodpecker pandemonium. High above, a jet leaves two blank lines.
A Cooper’s hawk hurtles out of the woods and alights briefly in a yard tree. The assembly-line sound of territorial chipmunks never lets up.
The high-pitched cries of a Cooper’s hawk. I watch him move from tree to tree half-way up the ridge, wings shining in the soft light.
I look up from my laptop just as a Cooper’s hawk launches from the tulip poplar, flashing through the treetops toward its nest of sticks.
The brown thrasher who’s been improvising steadily for half an hour falls silent. A moment later I hear the cak-cak-cak of a Cooper’s hawk.
The Cooper’s hawk’s kak-kak-kak, followed finally by a glimpse: rapid scissoring wings and a small bullet of a body veering into the pines.
Large gnats drift back and forth in front of the porch and a fly wanders the rim of my laptop. Two Cooper’s hawks chatter up in the woods.