media channel, back and forth,
back and forth, connecting.
Now, seeing the yellow-breasted chat would have satisfied me. I mean, what’s better
than seeing a new bird and
having it stay put and warble
for maybe half an hour while
you ogle it through binoculars?
Well, I was about to find out.
I saw a hawk out to the
east, far in the distance. With
binoculars, I could see his legs
hanging down, and as he drew
closer, he appeared to have
something clutched in his talons. He made big arcing circles,
tipping his wings a bit as he
flew. He didn’t seem to be in
any hurry to either eat his prey
or take it to a nest. He continued to fly in circles for some
time, and then he started to circle closer to where I was. With
his white underparts, long,
narrow tail, and tipping flight,
this was a northern harrier.
And then, from the west, I saw
another northern harrier flying toward me. The two hawks
met in the sky not far from me,
their movements almost like
well-scripted choreography as
they set themselves up, the one
with the prey (a small rodent)
in his talons positioned a few
feet above the other. And in
that moment, he deliberately
released his talons and dropped
the prey, which the other hawk
caught. The completely silent
transfer complete, the hunter
returned to the east and the
receiver flew back toward the
west, perhaps to a nest and
babies. What an extraordinary
sight! What a gift! Malheur had
Kathleen G. Elston is dedicated to protecting natural places.
A steward at Camassia Preserve,
she has a goal of visiting all the
preserves in Oregon.