Northern Goshawk—bird royalty

I’m in our cabin, moodling (a term I got from Brenda Ueland), thinking that words may spring from my fingers if I sit at my desk long enough.

Except, in the middle of forming what was sure to be great thought—maybe the size of the fish that snapped my line all those years ago—a blue ball, blurred by speed, hits the under-story 30 feet from my window and sets off a small explosion of dry leaves, bits of moss and twigs.


The air clears. I see a slate-grey raptor—tall, straight, impressive, a northern goshawk, the largest of North American accipiters, it’s bird royalty I’m talking about here—with a mouse dangling from its hooked beak.


It drops the body, pins it with talons, and begins a 10 minute evisceration, unhurried, savouring—it’s only a snack, squirrels, even rabbits the main course. I see thick bright red threads pulled, see them break and disappear, and at last the tail and ribboned hide are swallowed—to be rendered by crop and gizzard.


It’s what goshawks do. Diurnal hunters, they’re made for these boreal woods. Their short powerful wings propel them between tight stands of poplar; their eyes see through cottonwood leaves.


And me, I too do what I do. I watch with admiration, happy on this day I’m not a field mouse.

And that thought that was forming has swum out of my memory. But I assure you, it was grand. At least this big!


  1. Moodling; that is a word I do not come across everyday. Clearly, moodling paid off and provided some words for the writer. I enjoyed the article and imagery. Thank you for a nice start for today.

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