Watching Like a Hawk


An article in Saturday’s paper about hawks preying upon songbirds caught my eye because I’ve seen a hawk in our yard occasionally…atop the basketball goal and in the crape myrtle tree.   Dearly Beloved and I had assumed it was trolling for squirrels and chipmunks–the same furry critters which ate every single strawberry on our plants last year.  I’ve seen nothing, but admit that rather than allowing rodenticide to happen on our watch, we may have opted to turn a blind eye.

But now this. . . !

I hung this little birdhouse last week to remind myself that below it is where I’d planted a little dogwood I’d found among the ferns in the front garden.  I had no idea we’d immediately have renters, especially in mid-November.

Several houses ago, we had a large kitchen/keeping room combination, and when I contracted a mild case of “country-itis,” I had a friend paint this little birdhouse to match the everyday dishes we used.  It sat on a shelf in the hutch with the dishes.

Neither the dishes nor the birdhouse have been used for years.  When I dug it out of the garage and hung it on a whim, I never dreamed that any bird would be interested in such flashy, retro quarters.

This scene is just plain wrong!  Talk about being cocky!

This hawk was so brazen that it simply yawned and ignored all the arm flapping I did from the safety of the deck. It  finally flew off, probably for a pedicure, only after I got close enough to practically smell its hawk breath, but its message was clear:   “I’ll be baaaack!”

What now?

We have several bird feeders hanging around our back yard as well as the fountain where the robins line up with their little towels and flip flops as they await their turn in the communal bath.  This could become a blood bath!  What now, indeed!

Although I’m a bird lover, I’ve been frustrated with my fine-feathered friends lately. I’ve wanted to call fowl foul several times, especially in a nearby grocery store.

Not just a small corner market, this is the “flagship” of the largest chain of supermarkets in our area, the chain my midwestern transplant neighbor calls Hairy Tweeter.   (It’s better not think about it.)

Some weeks ago I was flying through the aisles and noticed bird noises…noises coming not through speakers, but from the overhead beams.  Not just a bird, mind you, and perhaps not a flock, but I believe Alfred Hitchcock could have shot footage there.

I steered clear of the deli section, the produce department, the bakery, and the pet food aisles.

Last week the lure of triple coupon redemption pushed aside my bird memory and I returned to the store.  I was merrily pushing my cart along when something ahead of me moved under the toe-kick area of the cereal shelves.

Holy crap, a mouse…?!  I went weak-kneed.

Nope–it was a bird, looking for God-knows-what on the floor.  Two aisles over I encountered another one on a low fly-in and watched it disappear under a cookie shelf.

Enough!  Triple coupons or not, I headed for checkout.

I don’t know about their other customers, but I prefer that any birds where I buy groceries be plucked and packaged.  Isn’t there a law?  Somebody check those health inspection rules.

It isn’t hard to figure out how the birds get in and I can see how the chain might have a real dilemma in getting rid of them, but surely someone hasn’t come up with the birdbrained idea to do nothing.

Here it is in a nutshell:  a hawk preys upon birds I’ve invited into our yard at the same time, uninvited birds turn my grocery store into a biohazard.  I’m apt to go batty!

It’s enough to put me off chicken indefinitely.  Not only that, I’m boycotting that supermarket.  I don’t want to have to watch like a hawk to make sure I don’t get pooped upon.

After all, I’m nobody’s pigeon.


11 thoughts on “Watching Like a Hawk

  1. The hawk needs to eat, too.

    As for the brazen birds in the grocery store that may soon be swooping into the salad bar to pick off some sunflower seeds, leaving “reminders” in the cereal aisle and nesting in the floral department…..I’d be shopping elsewhere, too.

  2. “…the fountain where the robins line up with their little towels and flip flops…” Teehee! Love that image. Sitting under their umbrellas sipping a cool drink, probably with an umbrella stuck in it as well, yes?

  3. Our big supermarket has the occasional bird inside too. They used to come from nests under the eaves in front of the store but now the store has installed two or three loudspeakers outside that periodically during the day project the calls of hawks (or similar predator birds.) It was a bit unsettling the first time I heard them, but I guess it works as a deterrent.

    The birds don’t bother me, but I wonder if the same treatment would work on the idiots who block the aisles with their shopping carts.

  4. This isn’t the occasional bird, TTPT, this is a freakin’ revival meeting!

    The aisle hogs? You have ’em in Texas, too? I thought it was a law they all had to live in North Carolina.

    Kim, I’m not begrudging the hawk’s right to eat–just don’t want him to eat the birds at my feeder. Wonder if I can point him toward the store.

    Lynn…it’s getting cooler. It’s almost time for me to get out their little cider mugs.

  5. steffiw

    hi mary,i have to watch the hawks here,they love the chicken eggs,also my chihuahua is in mortal danger outside!p.s click on cork street photos on my blogroll and you will get to venivendi love steffi

  6. submom

    There is a grocery store across the street from our house, and they keep a plastic hawk at the edge of the eve, I assume to keep the birds away. I LOL at “Hairy Tweeter” ’cause that’s what I call it in my mind when we go on our annual OBX trip. That is one fancy supermarket (at least the new one compared to the ubiquitous Food Lion…), so I am surprised that they allow wild animals inside!

  7. I’ve seen birds in Home Depot but never falying around a grocery store! You should call the Health Department and make a complaint. That really isn’t healthy.

    I once had a cat when I was young that would sit on top of a bird house and stick his paw in a pull out baby birds. I was so horrified when I saw that and he was the last cat I ever allowed outdoors. Instinct is too powerful to overcome and most likely Mr. Hawk looks at your birdhouse and bird bath as his own personal “Whole Foods.”

  8. Randomish sidebar: I came home the other day to find a hawk who had just shredded a bird in our yard…feathers and bits EVERYWHERE.

    Not nice.

  9. I shop primarily in a small local food store that has low ceilings, an entrance foyer with yet another door, and no birds. I’ve seen birds in the high rafters of Ingles (our equivalent of Harris Teeter), but never in my little market. I buy only canned goods and frozen foods at Ingles.

    I love your determined little hawk. He certainly has an attitude, doesn’t he? On the other hand, does he actually think the birds are going to come to that feeder when he’s sitting right smack in front of it?

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