Glancing out my back window, I saw a hawk – I don’t know what kind, but he was HUGE – quite close to the house, making a meal of a pigeon. As I watched, a cat, not a lot larger than the bird, came into view at the back of my property. He strolled up onto the woodpile, had a look around, and spied the feeding raptor.
Suspense – what would he do? To a cat, birds are prey. To a hawk, a cat might be prey. How savvy was this cat? Not very. He glided back down the woodpile, angled away from the hawk to allay any suspicion, circled out of sight behind the shed, and then crept along in its shadow.
Interestingly, cats seem to have better hearing than hawks – about then I made a noise that caused the feline to stop and crouch, while the bird seemed to hear nothing, even though he was much closer. There was nothing wrong with his vision, though. Catching sight of his stalker, he grabbed the pigeon and flew to the top of the fence, fanning his beautiful striped tail.
Cat hurried to catch up, standing at the base of my benches, considering whether to jump.”Don’t do it!” I’m thinking.
Turns out the bird was at a disadvantage – the pigeon was caught in his left talon. He kept shaking his foot to dislodge it, and finally did. Great, I thought, now he can fly away.
This bird was not one to run from a fight. He circled the neighbors’ garage and landed in my aspen tree, Cat tracking him carefully. They faced off. I wondered which one I was rooting for, and got ready to dash out and break up the fight . How I thought I’d do that against two essentially wild and armed animals, I have no idea, but nobody was getting killed or maimed on my watch.
Into this hushed moment, cat crouched, gauging the distance to the branch, hawk impassive but battle-ready, I had a chance to really look at them.
Of similar size, both were grey and tan, with strongly barred tails, tan chests, grey heads. The feline had leopard-like spots on his back, the raptor had brown spots on his chest. The cat had striped sides, the underside of the hawk’s wings were similarly striped.They were mirrors of each other – twins!
After a few seconds, the bird, who always had been the one in control, flew off, and the cat trotted back to the woodpile. Soon each will have forgotten the confrontation. But for me, it has taken on a mystical significance, as if their meeting were kismet.