Birds Flying over the Benicia Hills

This afternoon, I went for a walk, and I left the sidewalks for the hills. (They’re drying out now after days of rain.) There was a flock of pigeons doing arial maneuvers in various formations: the undersides of their wings were bright white like the clouds. When they landed in the grass, their heads shown teal in the sunlight. At any moment, a startled look-out pigeon would lead all seven or eight of them back into the air again. They wheeled on the wind current. They were so free.

As I continued on my walk, I saw a hawk swoop high overhead and land on the top-most, up-jutting branches of a pine tree — that pine tree is easily as tall as a three-story building. I could tell it was a hawk, but at first, not what kind. She took off into the air as I neared the tree, and I peered up to watch her circling. The sun illuminated her: a red-tailed hawk. It made me smile to recognize her and know that she is at least three years old.

There is a little valley right below the pine tree where hidden songbirds were all singing. I know the hawk is waiting for the nestlings and fledglings of early spring — easy prey. But for now, those tiny songbirds are simply singing their love-songs … It’s the day before Valentine’s Day; it’s their time.

(the foot-path off of Rose Drive)

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