Birds battle in my backyard. Sparrows wage war over the birdbath, the feeder, and a convenient perch that gives them access to both. Their best vantage point is at the bend of the downspout between the rooftop and a tall spruce. It often becomes contentious because there is room for only one sparrow to reign supreme.
As I watch, a bold bird bullies a timid one. The loser is knocked to the ground, while the victor celebrates his dominance with puffed-up feathers and a cocky stance.
Mother Nature rewards the strong. But sometimes luck evens the score.
A streak of buff and black strikes like lightning from the grey-blue sky. Deadly, silent, and with unerring precision, a prairie falcon plummets. It snatches the winning sparrow from its throne and carries it away.
Huddled below, the loser is the lucky one.
—By Hermine Robinson of Calgary, Alberta.
This article was published originally in 2016, in GreenPrints Issue #108.