Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Pigeon and The Hawk

It was going down bad for the pigeon in my parking lot. The huge hawk had the pigeon pinned down right beside my car. The pigeon’s wings fluttered against the passenger door. I cringed at the thought that it might scratch up my car with its talons or beak trying to subdue the pigeon.Until that moment I hadn’t realized hawks were nesting in our borough much less our neighborhood.

The hawk stood on his prey’s back and appeared to be jumping up and down on the struggling pigeon. He stretched out his wings and screeched. A chill went up my spine. His wing span had to be 3 feet or more, he was truly magnificent. The pigeon didn’t stand a chance against the hawk but he was determined not to go down without a fight. The pigeon struggled some more and there was some loud squawking and feathers floated through the air.

Startled by my father’s approach the hawk abruptly took off into the air leaving the pigeon behind. The pigeon was motionless as I stepped around it. I was certain that it was dead but then it started to beat its wings in desperation against the parking lot asphalt. The pigeon was trying to fly away. I made eye contact with him and felt a twinge of sadness. He stared back at me in the glaring manner pigeons have about them. I wondered if he'd been one of the pigeons I regularly fed.

I wondered if perhaps he’d been one of Max’s descendants. Max had been a white pigeon who’d flown into my bedroom one cold November day a few years back. He'd been my room mate for six months.Every morning Max flew out my bedroom window only to return just as the sun was setting and settle in for the night on my curtain rod.I’d even awoken a few times to find Max perching on my hip and on top of my head. One day in May Max acquired a mate and moved out. He didn’t go far though. He set up his nest right underneath my window inside of my air conditioning sleeve. I found it comforting to hear him and his lady cooing in the early morning hours from inside the vent. Occasionally I’d wake up and find Max perched on my window sill looking in at me. Eventually Max and his family left the area and I never saw him again. I’d often wondered what had happened to Max.

I knew the bloodied pigeon on the asphalt was beyond saving and I’m sure he knew it as well but still he struggled. My heart sank as I watched it fighting against the inevitable. I looked up and out of the corner of my eye saw the hawk sitting on a tree limb. I turned my face up towards the hawk he continued to look down at the pigeon. The hawk was waiting patiently for us to leave. My father pulled out his cell phone to call building maintenance and have them remove the dying pigeon but I stopped him.

The pigeon had fought a valiant battle and even though he’d lost I felt it was wrong that he’d be placed inside a plastic bag with the remnants of yesterday’s dinner waiting to be carted off by sanitation and dumped into a landfill among the rotting garbage. To me that fate was a dishonor, an insult to his life, and to his bravery in the face of death. The pigeon had stopped beating his wings;death was almost upon him his breathing was shallow. I was certain that as soon as we drove off the hawk would return for the pigeon.

Sure enough as soon as we were out of the parking lot the hawk made his move.
I watched as the hawk dove off the tree limb and claimed his prize; he quickly swooped back into the sky with the pigeon clasped in his talons. He settled back on the tree limb and began to eat the pigeon. Animals unlike humans are not deliberately cruel they do what they do in order to survive. The purpose of the pigeon’s death had been to ensure the survival of the hawk. It had been his destiny and because of his sacrifice the hawk would live another day.


Posted by @ 10:33 PM
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