for instance, arriving home from an appointment this morning there was a big commotion outside. after running in to our den to drop a few things off, i came back out to see what the what.
sure enough, some parents and other concerned relations were freaking out and it became quickly apparent something happened to one of their babies.
i just stood there trying to get a handle on the situation because what else could i do? i noticed some others were getting involved and showing their outrage. some nosey ones– jerks who messed with the young ones around here just last week–tried to get in on the foray only to be quickly and violently chased out of the group: “Get out of here!”
turns out, folks were losing it because one of their babes was snatched and whisked up into the fragrant and flowering branches of the tall black locust colony in the garden across the road. after figuring out what was happening i stood and watched because even though there was nothing i could do, i was interested, as morbid as that sounds.
i had heard that merlin falcons prey on other small birds and i’ve been watching their behaviour over the past several weeks but have not actually seen them capture one or eat anything, let alone a small bird. but this morning, there it was, flitting about trying to find the perfect perch while the chorus resounded about it. i watched as best i could trying to see in between the full, cascading blooms on the tall, swaying trees. i saw it find a perfect branch. i watched as it began tugging on its food. after quickly pulling a first piece away and setting it on the branch slightly forward from where it was perched, it resumed tugging and eating, tugging and eating.
i felt bad for those opichiwag (robins) who lost one of their babies to the falcon. it was reassuring though, to hear their rage and to see gjigjigaaneshiinhwag (the chickadees) there, too also giving the falcon a hard time. those little ones are at most risk around the falcon but their shared outrage must have fired them up enough to show some support. it was also interesting to see those aasiganak (grackles) try to get involved opichiwag wouldn’t have it. were they still sore from last week when those aasiganak tried to steal a baby pichi from the nest made on my neighbours window sill? whatever, whatever–they were quick to chase them off.
i just came back in from checking on something on that limb the falcon was perched on way up there in those beautifully blooming trees. sure enough, the piece of food that it tugged away at and set on the branch is still there..its silhouette is the only thing i can see. i wonder if it’s a little offering to the spirits or the trees or maybe that baby who turned its life over? maybe that’s just me, anthropomorphisizing my bird relatives. or maybe, it’s me, seeing what my Anishinaabeg relatives would have seen thousands of years ago, learning from these teachers, and making beautiful, life-giving meaning from it.