Monday, April 01, 2013

A tight spot

Yesterday was a spectacular spring day, and we came into Portland to take a walk up the hill to the Japanese Garden, then to wind our way up to the Maxx station by the Zoo.

We got off the Maxx train at the ballpark, and noticed an unusually noisy flock of crows. While saying things like 'huh, wonder what's got them riled up" we crossed the street - and a thump impacted against Jane's backpack. Looking down - a fat, dead pigeon on the ground. Looking up into the boughs of a small, leafless tree - an angry, frightened kestrel who had bitten off more than he could chew. The crows were mobbing the tree, keeping the small bird of prey trapped. They'd swarm at the tree, back off, regroup and fly back at the tree, karking and squawking as they swirled in flight. The kestrel's head darted this way and that, then centered his gaze, focused on distance. I was right there with the kestrel as we stood under the tree watching him. Surrounded by enemies, stuck in a tight place. How long could the crows stake the tree out? I thought that the only way out would be split second timing, waiting until the crows were at their most dispersed and - at that moment, like an arrow from an archers bow, the kestrel took off, west, with the alarmed, murderous crows in truly hot pursuit.

A few minutes later, as we approached the trailhead on Burnside, we saw the crows harrying a Red Tail. I imagine that the kestrel got away, and hope he had better luck hunting on the other side of the hills.

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