Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This One Is For The Birds

In Spain we lived across from El Bosque, a lively bar that served cafe and anise to the viejos and politicos during the week and churros and chocolate to the church goers on Sunday. From my second story vantage point I could keep tabs on the coming and going of the who's who in Utrera. However, it was those that hung out at the roof top cantina that provided me the most entertainment.
Rain or shine, day or night dozens of pigeon would congregate on the slanted tile roof. For hours on end I would watch them feed, fight, fornicate and once in a while drop little presents on the unsuspecting patrons sitting on the patio below. However, the favorite pastime of the non-paying customers seemed to be just lazing around. Occasionally a loud noise would cause the masses to take to the air but it wouldn't take long for the birds to return to their lounging spot.
One sunny spring afternoon I was awakened from my afternoon siesta by a flurry of noise. The crystal blue sky was filed with a gyrating mass. Round and round the plaza the birds flew, filling the sacred Spanish rest hour with loud squawks. At first I was confused by the sudden movement. I had never seen the normally lethargic animals so agitated. I thought that perhaps a  cat had managed to invade their space. As I scanned the roof, a dark shadow of a large bird swept across the tiles. I knew what was about to happen. I shifted my gaze to the sky just in time to watch a large hawk, with extended talons, sweep down and snatch a pigeon mid-air. With its trophy secure the predator gracefully landed on the roof, where for the next hour it slowly devoured its prey. As I watched in awe, I couldn't help but wonder if had just witnessed a magical moment in the wild kingdom or a brutal massacre.


  1. Hi Maya, so good to see you post about your time in Spain. Looks like you had a nice view from your apartment...well except for the swooping hawk snatching the pigeon part. I'm not a big fan of pigeons, but I think I would have felt bad seeing that. But I guess that's how things are in the wild kingdom.

    Very interesting read. Thanks so much for sharing your story and photo.

  2. Hi Kathy, I'm glad you like reading about my time in Spain. I like to revisit every once and a while--lots of stories and memories. I loved the view from our apartment. It was fun being in the center of town, though it could be noisy at times and parking was an issue. Thanks for stopping in.