Normal weekend day at home. Sitting at the table picking crumbs off my plate when I hear something hit our front window. Something biggish. Then my wife gasps from the living room like she just saw a unicorn explode.
"Jana, what is it?" I ask, too lazy to get up and look.
No answer for exactly two seconds. This makes me panic. If you gasp like that you should explain yourself quickly. No answer means that my primal male instinct is about to be called upon to protect my family at all costs. Suddenly, the crumbly sandwich crumbs on my plate are not my biggest concern. "What is it!?" I demand as I leap from my chair and run into the room.
She is a little dazed. "Sorry, I think a bird hit the window. It almost broke it I think. It was...really big. It might have been two birds."
My three kids crowd around the window to see. They are usually quite graceful kids, but for some reason when they get around windows, sharp corners, coffee cups, etc. they turn into slapstick clowns; which would be funny if when they fell they just honked a bike horn and jumped back up instead of crying and wanting me to pick them up and hold them while they, all three, cry loudly directly into my left ear canal. So I get all Barney Fife, "move along people nothing to see here..." and no one in my family gets the joke. Nor do my kids understand the literal command to "move along." I resort to my physical strength and move the kids out of my way so I can confirm Jana's bird report.
Indeed, I see two birds. A small one and a large one. My five-year-old daughter nervously laughs and says, "The little one has a really tiny face."
My wife and I exchange a look of awestruck disgust. "Kids, move along. Seriously, go play for a minute."
I finally get a good view of the scene. Right below the window is a small hawk of some kind. It is laying on its back panting and wide-eyed, obviously dazed from the impact with our window. Next to the hawk is a very small bird WITH NO HEAD. That's right. A cute little decapitated bird. The "tiny face" my daughter saw was actually a few vertebrae sticking out of the bird's neck.
"What do we do?" my wife asks. The possibilities rush through my mind as I walk to get my phone to take a picture (obviously this would be one for the family scrapbook). Maybe we should call an animal hospital to come rescue the hawk? Maybe we could put it in a shoebox and nurse it back to health. You know, bandage its wing and hand feed it hamburger meat. Maybe I could have a pet hawk and we could go hunt field mice next to our kids' park. Before I took a few steps and had time to laugh at my own stupid ideas, Jana grunts again, "Oh gosh. It flew away."
Which one? I thought. I looked out again. The hawk left behind its decapitated prey. Not cool. Very inconsiderate. I hoped it would come back and get its snack, but it never did. Evidently, this young hawk had snatched up a little bird and snapped its head off. Then, perhaps rushing home to show his mom or maybe running away from a bully hawk trying to steal his lunch, he tried to take a shortcut through our house. Only we were protected by an "invisible forcefield called glass" (credit Blue from Rio), and the hawk flew away confused and hungry.
Great job, hawk. I usually think you guys are pretty cool, but in this case you just delivered me a bird corpse.