A Winter Afternoon

To: Tom Karplus <>
Subject: A Winter Afternoon
From: Reg Clark <>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 23:13:41 +1000
This afternoon I was having a conversation on the telephone in the back room of my home near a large plate glass window. I was talking to Jim Francis on various matters of mutual interest , when there was a loud crashing noise from the window behind me and glancing around saw a Spotted Dove fall to the ground . I said "Did you hear that?" Jim replied "Yes , What was it?" I told him what I had seen whereupon he urged to nip outside and give the unfortunate creature "the kiss of life" On further inspection I discovered the apparent cause of the crash.......a very ferocious looking Collared Sparrowhawk who could not see his victim which had fallen down beside my swimming pool . We warily watched each other from a distance of about 5m., he obviously was at a loss to explain the dove's mysterious disappearance and wasn't leaving without a good explanation. I walked around the back of the house to the pool and picked up the bird , the neck was broken.My close presence was too much for the Collared Sparrowhawk who disappeared into the adjacent bush. As some bird would regard the corpse as a delicious meal, I placed it on the pool pathway near the birdbath walking to the side of the pool area looked around just in time to see one our large resident Australian Ravens perch on the birdbath. He, or she had a drink and saw the dove,It regarded the body very critically for several minutes and then became so excited it ran around the rim of the bath several times in both directions then cautiously jumped down and approached the body . It gave the bird a nudge with its beak then tugged out a beakful of feathers. As it was engaged in this anticipatory procedure, a Sparrowhawk , diving like bullet, snatched the body from the Ravens beak.!!!! It carried it into the bush below . As for the Raven , well, if a bird could register astonishment , it did , it gave a shocked squawk and rose at least a meter vertically before flying off in the direction of its new nest , no doubt protesting the manners of certain raptores. I was then able to continue my conversation with Jim, He had heard the beginning and I was able to tell him the end.

Reg Clark
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