The other day I was stunned and privileged to be witness to nature unfolding it's life cycle before my very eyes:
In my driveway, three feet to my left side, landed a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus). I heard and then watched it swoop out of the fence row of trees and catch a house sparrow (Passer domesticus) mid-air. It had not gotten the best grip on its prey, I guess, so landed to readjust. That is when it landed three feet from me. Upon landing, the hawk spread its right wing to cover the prey and prevent escape. This action replays in my mind in slow motion at each remembrance; the brown-grey graceful stretch from shoulder to wing-tip, the pattern detail across the wing on display. I could hear the sparrow call in distress, but the Hawk was not about to lose dinner. At some point, only a few seconds in I'm sure, though it felt like a lifetime of observation later, the hawk noticed my presence. I'm not sure if the hawk was so focused on its prey before and suddenly noticed me, or if I made some sort of noise, but the hawk decided the treetops would be a better place to deal with its prey and off it flew with the desperately chirping sparrow locked tight in its talons.