Coffee Share 210207: Life in the Food Chain

This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to This week’s full list
Link to my Story Blog:  Table of Contents.

There is an ambience one get used to during this ongoing pandemic where we are expected to stay home, work from home and not interact much with others face to face.  You get to know the sounds; the creaks and quiet snaps of things moving or living right outside your door.

Thus, when I heard a discordant crackling or knocking about on our front porch this week, I knew immediately that whatever that was, it was not normal.

Hmm, too small for a gender-indistinct delivery person walking on small wind driven sticks from the tree and too regular of frequency to be a single event of something falling over, no, this sounds alive — smallish but alive. It must be investigated.  The mystery must be resolved.

We have a double front door, two opposing ones that, if both are opened are wide enough for three large people to enter simultaneously, shoulder to shoulder. They both have half-circle windows near the top so tall folk like me can sneak a peek at whoever or whatever is just outside.

I carefully approached the windows hoping for a silent glance outside, but some aged floor joist creaked beneath my step and betrayed my approach to something unknown just outside.  Whatever it was doing stopped, so I closed on my viewing ports as quickly as possible but before I could arrive at a window a fluttering streak of bright blue shot out of our partially enclosed porch, out into the front yard and banked immediately to the left – the only real open aerial path due to garage and large tree obstructing other options.  Thus I was able to collect just a glance of because it happened so fast.

A split-second later, I arrived for best view possible from one of those windows, but the blue jay (for that color, projectile size and speed most certainly isolated it as such) was gone.  I had just enough time to regret missing a better view of the blue avifauna when something much larger exploded on the roof above our porch, scattering  leaves into the air and a raptor about four times the size of the jay shot into the wake of the departing jay and all this pandemonium, as into a vacuum, disappeared from sight behind the wall to the left of the porch.

Wow!  What was that? What facts do I have? 

It was a bird, a huge one.  it was spotted, black-on-brown and orange.  It was easily as fast as the jay. Lately, in my wanderings about the yard and neighborhood, I noticed nearby cries and flights of large similar birds.  I think that was some kind of hawk or falcon.

Many years ago, while homeschooling our oldest, he became interested in birds of prey and with him, I became familiar with several local species. Lately, in my wanderings about the yard and neighborhood, I noticed nearby cries and flights of large similar birds. It was annoying that I did not accurately recall or recognize which I’d just encountered so I spent a few quality minutes with the internet reminding myself of the differences between hawks and falcons, their cries and photos of both. 

Try out the following audio to hear the cry that matched our visitor.

red shoulder hawk

The photo above was a dead-on match to what I’d seen so I had confirmed the ID to the red shouldered hawk.

I was also reminded that the material distinctions between a hawk and falcon are size (falcons are smaller, which is not helpful unless you can see them side by side, and wing-tips.  Hawks have finger-like wing tips (reference the photo above) while falcons wings are smooth and pointed when spread for flight.

With this information I now knew the hapless jay,  had a problem staying alive as he left our porch because:

  1. speed was not in his favor,
  2. his coloring lent him no cover as he is the bluest thing in our local expression of nature and,
  3. the lack of any merciful tendencies by hungry hawks. 

I saw, what was likely only a pit-stop in the race between these two and they continued off, out my sight.

Well.  That was exciting! I guess that’s life in the on-going food chain. Life was at risk for both birds, one was at risk of immediate capture and death while the other needed to capture and kill or risk death by starvation. Nature can be harsh.


In other news, I produced and shared out a new fictional story this week.  One of my favorite things to write and read are conversations as opposed to narrator-voiced stories. One came to mind this week and I captured it.  At 7 minutes, it’s very short; well, short for my norm.

It’s an intimate discussion between an older husband and a much younger unrelated woman as they wrestle with their changing relationship.  If you give it a try, read carefully.  If you’ve read my other fiction, you know how I enjoy unexpected twists.  I hope you do enjoy it by clicking here.

That’s it for me this week.  Thanks for stopping by.


Blessings all!  I’ll be around to visit your share shortly.

GW bio card 4

10 thoughts on “Coffee Share 210207: Life in the Food Chain

  1. Hi Gary, I read this and also read the Fading Fern Frond Brooch, I did not see that ending coming. I see what you mean about conversations, I think they are an art form and I enjoyed reading it, as well as the story about the Blue Jay and the Predator. I am not much of a bird watcher, but always appreciate the times one sees a smaller bird chasing off a larger one, as poetic justice. By the way, I played the audio of the bird and it made my dog get to her feet and check the window, looking for the source of the noise, I suspect.
    Blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Michele. Having such fun with one of my stories . . . You made my day. Then you went on to read my Fictional Fern Frond story and I am so glad you enjoyed it. In your world, you must have seen plenty of human drama and I’ve always wondered what it would be like if somehow I lost my ability to distinguish reality from fiction that looks so real. Thank you so much for giving me so much of your time today.

      Like

      1. There was something else in the Fern Frond Story, that I appreciated, before knowing that she wasn’t real, it was an interesting exploration of appropriate/not appropriate relationships. I thought that was good and instructive.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deb. Thanks for your time today reading my coffee share and story. Readers like you often make my day as it is such a huge compliment when someone you barely know is willing to read your work and comment back. Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy watching. Not always fun to see them make a kill, but it is part of nature. I’ll also admit that it is easier when it is an osprey or eagle getting a fish! Hope you have a good week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What a captivating story! Both the tale of the hawk and the blue jay and the subsequent detective story when you figured out the identity of the hawk. “Nature red in tooth and claw”.

    Liked by 1 person

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