Blue Jay Mourning

Breaking through the quiet morning came a cacophony of blue jays.
They were shrieking, frantic.
Screeching sharp-edged squawks.
Looking into the pines from the balcony, a fleet movement between the limbs.
A plummeting form quickly lost from view.
And then I saw it.
The falcon struggled into flight from beneath the trees.
It held one blue jay fast and landed on the open lawn, wings shielding its prey.
I could see the effort of the falcon to maintain its grip on the still-struggling bird.
From low branches on either side of the lawn, two more jays continued to shout and dive at the falcon.
Glancing down, one after the other, but without effect.
Their shrieking continued until the falcon shifted its wings and raised its head.
There was a moment of silence.
The falcon swept up and away bearing the weight of the jay.
Briefly, noisily the surviving jays pursued.
A warning of bird calls trailed the falcon into the distance.
In that silent moment before parting, we knew the caught jay had succumbed.
The trees around the scene of the attack are still.
No chorus of mourning, no lament.
The wind takes a feather and a leaf.


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