The killing fields
Strolling down to the pond early yesterday, I was instantly aware of an eerie silence. No birds sang from the trees and thick hedges and no hens cooed or raced to greet me. Something was terribly wrong!
With my heart in my mouth, it didn’t take long to discover the pile of soft, white-grey feathers, lying beneath the drooping branches of a weeping willow tree. I too felt like weeping as I raced around the garden, counting the hens before realising that the latest victim of the preying sparrow hawk was an innocent ring-necked dove.
And again this morning, the screeching sound of the small birds made alarm bells ring in my head. I looked down towards the pond and spotted the dreaded hawk with its sharp yellow eyes and long lanky legs, spying on his potential victims from a tree close by. I froze as he turned his head and stared at me. ‘You’re a find bird,’ I said calmly, ‘but these small creatures are my guests and not to be taken by your strong claws.’
I am not sure how much the hawk understood, but he left to join another three hawks that were waiting nearby.
All day long, as my kind and unassuming husband and I trekked around the waterfalls in a valley close by, I couldn’t help but pray the hawks would find a more suitable restaurant and never come back!