Red-Tailed Hawks

Red-Tailed HawkSundays should be like that more often: sunny enough to warm your bones in January, and to make California’s distance from Brooklyn seem like a good idea.

Up above Twin Peaks, the red-tailed hawks were randy. I saw them dancing in the air with their legs cocked like landing gears. They swirled, so intent on each other that the field mice were safe in the heather. It is almost hard to watch a freedom we clodhoppers know only in our dreams.

Eventually, the female folded her cinnamon wings and nosedived straight to a perch on the radio tower below. She was poised. He continued to swirl, legs tucked back in, less purposeful now. Then he aimed himself, a little feather missile, at the spot next to her. For a moment they were like strangers on a bus. Then he mounted her, clinging to her bigger back. She sat quietly until he finished fucking, which took no more than ten seconds.

There’s something ridiculous about a male half the size of his bird, and perhaps it was regret or a sense of inadequacy that drove him to the other side of the tower, where he perched with his back to her, observing the rowdy ravens on the other peak. She continued to scan the ground impassively. For mice? For nest-building sticks? Well, they were together now, and it was nearly spring. It’s a rare day when you can hunt on Twin Peaks.

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