Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Hawks Are Circling

A couple of hawks have moved into my neighbourhood. Actually, I haven't been here long, so you could say I have moved into theirs. Anyway, they are impressive. They look really staunch. And they look like they know they look really staunch. I confess they make me tremble a little.

I'm not worried that they will swoop down and pluck me off of the verandah or anything. My concern stems from my former mausmaid stint. So far I have resisted the urge to cup my hands together and yell, "run little mousies, run!" whenever the hawks are circling.

Although...now that I think about it, running might be a bad idea...perhaps, "hide little mousies, hide!" would be better advice...or, "sit still, little mousies, sit very very still, don't even twitch a whisker!"... Given that hawks are known for their eagle eyes...so to speak...

Okay...so now that I've put the idea in my own head (it doesn't take much) I'm wondering that if they actually did swoop down and pluck me off of the verandah, what would they do with their bounty? Hypothetically speaking, of course... Would they consider my flesh worthy of feeding to their offspring? Or would they, on closer inspection, turn up their noses and release their talons, discarding my scrawny body into the bay? I expect the water would be rather chilly this time of year. The air certainly is.

Not worried about it though, just so you know...  Neither the abduction bit, nor the rejection aspect. I'm not nervously scouring the skies every time I trek the short distance to the letterbox...even though I am somewhat deficient in the swimming skills department...and can't concentrate on doing anything when my feet are cold...which I expect they would be, very much so, if I were to be dropped into the ocean, in the middle of a southern winter...

But I realise how improbable such an event would be...don't worry that I'm worrying...cos I'm not...honest... besides, it's a very short sprint from the verandah to my front door...unless the door slams shut in the wind...that does happen quite a bit...brisk sea breeze and all that...I really must get around to burying a spare key in the garden...gotta make purchasing some slippers a priority too...before toe hypothermia sets in...




But, back to being snatched from the safety of my possibly not-so-safe-after-all verandah by a bloodthirsty creature... It would spawn some catchy headlines, "Spindly lass plucked from doorstep by airborne assailant." Or, "Hawk lunches on verandah." How about,  "Pasty looking chick demoted from dinner to leftovers in one fowl swoop..." And one more for good measure, "Rescuers unable to decipher incoherent babble of woman with cold feet."

Incidentally, a character in one of my possibly-never-to-be-published-after-all novels did find himself dangling from the talons of a dragon, so it's not surprising my fantasy world would occasionally bleed into the real(ish) one. (He wasn't on a verandah at the time though, just in case you were wondering.)

But anyway, I don't really think the hawks are gonna get me. Thoughts of such an occurrence don't occur very often... I'm just letting my mind wander...

The main reason why my mind wanders in this sort of direction--other than the obvious fact that I have no control over what it gets up to most of the time--is that I often find myself thinking about the struggle little critters face, every day.

I have been feeding the sparrows on the verandah and they are seriously paranoid. Always looking over their shoulders. They even freaked when I put a millet spray out for them. Not the kind of response I had been hoping for. I get the feeling they thought it was a trap. Some sort of lethal seed sausage. Took them a whole day to come to their senses. I'm pleased to report that the little munchkins have now stripped it bare. Finally.




But then, I guess they have to be vigilant. They live with the constant threat that another bigger, or just stronger critter, will come along and gobble them up. Tis the way the food chain works. Bugs get preyed on by other bugs. Or birds. Birds get preyed on by cats. Cats get preyed on by dogs. Dogs get preyed on by bigger dogs, or dog control officers.

I'm thinking suburbia here, obviously, but step out into the wild, and the number of homicidal assailants coveting ones flesh must skyrocket. Everybody's out to get you. (Let's hope the hawks don't turn my sparrow feeding station into their sparrow feeding station. Eek.)

Imagine if every time you walked down to the supermarket, you ran the risk of being shredded alive by an airborne killing machine. I'm sure that would help a lot of people curb their cravings. And stick to their budgets. Would that expedition to purchase a chocolate bar really be worth the risk? Even if the chocolate was peppermint? (My favourite. Yum...none left sadly...but I shan't be going out to get any now, even though I feel a craving coming on...drat...and no, it's not the fear of hawks that will stop me from venturing out...my feet wouldn't be the only appendages to freeze solid in the Arctic-like night air, and the shops ain't open at 12.42am in this neck of the woods anyhoo...so there...)

On a more serious note, obviously many people around the world have their personal safety threatened all of the time by bombs and weapons, and other man-made threats. Thugs included. And depending on where you live, you may be at risk from poisonous spiders and other insects, but I am talking specifically about the food chain.

Here in little ole New Zealand, natural predators of man, the kind that would tear us limb from limb, are few and far between. There are no wild bears, crocodiles or jungle cats in these parts. Haven't spotted any vampires, zombies or werewolves lurking around the bus stop either.

Not that I've actually been looking...too busy daydreaming...and they could so easily sneak up on me when I'm sticky stalking...nothing else gets my attention then...but I'm sure they would've gobbled me up by now while my guard was down if they have a taste for airheads or bus patrons. The bus driver might've got a bit suspicious by now too... What...? No passengers...? Again...? And another large red smear on the footpath...? I'd better alert the authorities...

I have my doubts though that the police in NZ could take on the supernatural. (No offence to any policepersons who may be reading this.) It's just that I don't think our officers are issued with stakes, silver bullets, and whatever implements one would require to stop zombies dead in their tracks, kind of a specialist field really, but you know what they say about curiosity... I'll make some enquiries and get back to you...

But wait...it just occurred to me that if our cops did have such weapons at their disposal, they wouldn't tell us, would they...cos then we'd know that the creatures of darkness really do exist and we'd all get super paranoid and they'd have to build graveyards for the redundant buses...and there'd be a national garlic shortage... I wonder if it's an offence for members of the public to carry a stake... I'll make some enquiries and get back to you...




Anyway, in summary, we are probably not on anyone's menu. I've heard rumours about sharks, but, well, if you're gonna go a-paddling in their pool...

We do actually have carnivorous snails in NZ (true story), but I reckon even though I'm unco, I could still out run them. More about those delightful creatures another time...

I think there was some point I was trying to make with this post, but I have no idea what it is. It seems I have derailed myself. Again. If I remember it, and if it is worth remembering, I'll get back to you...

No hawk photos to upload, sadly. They are nowhere near as sedentary as stick insects. Tis another situation where you will have to imagine how splendid they look. Or you can google hawk, there is that.

Let's have a photo of a stick insect instead then, shall we. Just for variety's sake. I was toying with the idea of exhibiting an incredible amount of restraint by not mentioning stick insects once in this post, but then I thought, what would be the point of that? Oh, and I see that I have already mentioned them briefly in the above paragraph anyway. Ha.

This cutie was loitering about on the verandah stairs. I like the way it has its bottom in the air;




I figure my only chance of getting a picture of the hawks is if I happen to be holding my camera at the precise moment that I find myself suspended beneath their formidable undercarriage. Although, realistically, I think my unco tendencies would surface, a fumbling incident would occur, and the camera would end up in the drink before I do. Shame. Would be a post-worthy snapshot, I reckon. Not that I would be in a position to post it, if the sharks were also circling...

Again, not to worry...I'm not worrying...honest. You don't need to fret that I have developed a FOBABABOP disorder--a Fear of Being Abducted By a Bird of Prey, just in case you've never come across that one before.

The OCSOSID diagnosis still stands though, which is why I don't have enough restraint to post only one photo;




Or two, even... No censorship required with this pair--they censored themselves. Hilarious;




This photo required editing, out of respect for bug privacy. The way the female is looking at the person taking the picture does tend to suggest though that a privacy violation has already occurred. Oops, sorry, Mademoiselle Sticky;




I must say...I'm surprised to see them still canoodling...it's pretty cold out...middle of a southern winter, as aforementioned... Not just the hawks that are staunch...


2 comments:

Crash said...

Little old Un Zud [N.Z'd] eh? ... actually someone asked me recently if I missed it ... I replied I wasn't aiming at it ... they didn't laugh either.

N.Z does have some of my Fav animals - the Tuatara being top of the list, but it's a pretty interesting place esp in entomological terms.

A young country but wow! plenty of scientists would give their right grant for a chance to study there ... keep up the great posts - they cheer me immensely.

Holly said...

Thanks, Crash. I laughed.

Re tuataras, I'd welcome them into my garden any day (as long as they didn't eat my stickys, of course.)

Haven't spotted any entomologists lately, but the country's crawling with seismologists and now volcanologists as well. All rubbing their hands with glee.