I glanced out my window this morning to see two escapee chickens running frantically up and down the fence line. This is not an unusual sight. Nothing against my birds, but they aren’t burdened by an excess of intelligence. It often takes a few laps for them to decide or, figure out how, to get back in.
Today, though, as I watched, a Northern Harrier came swooping down, silent as a cloud, about 10 feet above the ground. It reached the house and rose sharply up and out of sight. A heartbeat later it returned and again swooped down. By that time I had reached the back door. Without pause, the Harrier banked away and glided into the pines, still silent.
The whole incident took only seconds. The chickens frozen against the fence, me in the act of opening the back door and the hawk, silent, graceful, deadly.
(Photo is of an injured bird, rescued by the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS). It’s not the bird I saw today.)