• A streak of bad luck was interrupted for a blissfully exciting moment this St. Patrick's Day morn:

I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on the apricot tree? No. But what I did see was a Mourning Dove coming out from under the eaves of the ancient garden shed where the two Red Cardinals had their nest. I was concerned and wondered what it was doing there, hoping the Cardinals and their nest were safe. The Mourning Dove slowly hopped around the roof near the edge, noticed me watching, and began walking down the slope of the roof's edge. I saw the Red Cardinal darting between his nest and a pine tree very near the nest (as he often does). The Mourning Dove then flew into a tree near the shed for a moment, then flew toward me and stopped in the center of the twin pines nearer my window. It began a dance of fluffing contortions that grew more and more lively. Of course I assumed this was an all-consuming frenzy of courtship as it is the spring-side of winter. Another Mourning Dove inside the right twin pine was performing the same exciting contortionist dance with wings going every-which-way and feathers flying! As they kept my attention with their hilarious antics, small birds began to gather ... Chickadees, Sparrows, Titmouses, a Woodpecker, Pee Wees, and even a Crow flew through quickly with a quieter caw than I knew existed. The Red Cardinal continued his diligent routine at the shed and more small birds gathered quietly in the trees near my window. This was fascinating and I was captivated! Then suddenly!!! A full-grown Red-Tail Hawk swooped down to the ground with great speed and landed ... without crashing! ... under all the trees. It didn't seem to have been trying to grab any creatures, who I realized were all hiding and not running around. The Hawk just looked at me, cocking it's head and watched me ... and I watched it ... not believing my eyes at first ... but we did look into each other's eyes to our souls ... I then called Garth to come see and whispered, "Look at the Hawk on the ground. It's right ... there (pointing)." The Hawk stayed long enough for us both to observe. I watched it for at least a couple minutes then Garth got to watch with me for about 15 seconds. It was gorgeous. All the birds were very still (even the Mourning Doves) ... except for the tiniest sparrows. They seemed to like hanging out with the hawk. Then the Hawk flew up, having to come closer to us to take the path chosen to ascend. Huge wingspan and very red tail spread wide as it swooped up into the sunlight through the yard and woods toward the meadow beyond, leaving the shadows of the trees, our window, our eyes, ... and our spirits soared as it flew majestically and magically away. I hope it returns for another close encounter sometime ... soon...

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