Heat in the city

Waking up my son this morning and looking out the window into the little activities in the back yard – squirrels crossing on the squirrel highway of telephone wires, various birds here and there gathering food and such – the peaceful putterings are suddenly interrupted by the massive swoop of a hawk diving into the back yard beyond where the strange white dog lives.

A moment later the hawk is up, perched on the fence between the properties, lingering a moment, huge, and then he flies off, giant wings carrying him out of the yard, a small brown shape clutched in his talons.  A mouse?  A bird?  Looks too small for a mouse, so perhaps a robin as they are plentiful in these yards.

Last summer I remember O, the (ex)husband, saying he’d seen a hawk swoop into the back yard and catch a pigeon one day when he was home – so it seems they do go in for birds.  And perhaps it is the same hawk.

The presence of a hawk wouldn’t be surprising of course if we lived out in the burbs, near fields or a marsh, but we are right downtown.  Just 2 weeks ago there was a shooting at the gelateria around the corner – the memorial flowers are still wilting outside the cafe where the man died.

Talking with my boy after the fact we figure this must be a good yard for hungry birds and animals in the city.   There’s so many trees the woodpeckers like the range of insect sources, the squirrels and birds have been feasting on the saskatoon-berry tree for weeks.  Someone a couple of yards down seems to have a crabapple tree cause the squirrels drop half-eaten little apples as they pass by on squirrel highway.   All this fecundity, the well-fed life must be appealing for the larger birds of prey as well.

It is the beginning of a hot day here – hot for us Canadian types at least.  34 degrees now in the early afternoon and rising, but with the humidity feels like 40-something.

In the hammock with the camera, seeking out birds in the trees I realize they are hot too, their beaks open, panting.

The sprinkler seems like a good idea for everyone – for the plants, all a little parched and shrivelled from so many days without rain, for the birds if they dare come near the sprinkler….

And they do, having a veritable sprinkler party, flying and darting through the water, catching the lower streams in their beaks and drinking, splashing around in the puddles forming in the dips and valleys in the earth.

5 thoughts on “Heat in the city”

  1. When my kids and I lived in Oregon, there was a concrete pool in the yard we sometimes filled up on hot days so they could go in, 10 or 12 feet long and 8 wide, or so, and rounded at the bottom. We were miles out in the country, but the birds used to come take advantage of it, too. I can imagine in a big city, so much of which is a concrete desert, a sprinkler must be a great oasis for all the little birds around. I can feel the feeling of it.


  2. It’s so nice to see them get so happy in the water – how they must have a hard time of it, in the desert of a dry hot place…. Didn’t know you lived in Oregon!?! Beautiful out there, no?

    1. Yeah,, I lived in that place for 10 years, and then in a few other temporary places for a while longer. feeling like I should get out of there but not sure where to go. I didn’t think I could make my living here. However, I really felt I should get out of the US, so I came back, and I wish I’d done it sooner.
      My daughter Faith said, when she was still in Oregon, “Oregon is OK. There is noting wrong with Oregon, but I wouldn’t miss Oregon. A person can miss Nova Scotia.” So she came back. I feel the same way, and I find I can make a living here now.

      1. Yes, I can understand that – have been craving some time in PEI recently, but would happily spend lots more time in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland as well – the Canadian East is so gorgeous and the people are so awesome…

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