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.
Snow has turned all the lower limbs into wide white feathers, but treetops are bare against the blue. From somewhere in between, the hawk.
An urgent, nasal call: the Cooper’s hawks are back. The female glides into a tall pine while the male appears and disappears among the oaks.