I recently was pruning a shrub when Lou, who was standing nearby, whispered, "You have a visitor."
I looked around, and not ten feet from me on a low tree branch, sat a large hawk. My heart thumped a bit, for he was clearly watching me. Sizing me up for prey? I doubt it; I would have been more than a mouthful!
He was nearly level with my head, and for a few moments I found myself locking eyes with him, briefly transcending the gulf that naturally separates humans from wild creatures. Finally, in no hurry at all, the hawk lifted his wings and took flight.
My garden is blessed with several predatory bird families, including both hawks and owls. I am thankful, for they help keep the vole and chipmunk population down. Voles have been the nemesis of my garden, destroying the roots of many valuable plants.
The chipmunks are much cuter than the mousy-looking voles, but they are cohorts in crime.They have dug an extensive series of underground tunnels for themselves, and the same tunnels are also used by the voles who want to snack on my roots.
This was not the first time predatory birds have shown an interest in us. An owl once followed Lou around the garden, flying from tree to tree to keep him in sight. Maybe his nest was nearby; maybe he was just curious!
It is always a delight to be outside this time of year, as the birds and other creatures go about the business of building nests and making babies. A symphony of twitters, chirps and calls of all sorts greets me every morning. New life is emerging along stems and branches, and many plants are blooming. Spring's verdure seems premature this year. We are expecting freezing temperatures this week, but the birds are telling me: No worries; spring is here!