The cold North wind shakes the tall dry seedheads scattering downy seeds throughout the field. The hunter sits motionless atop his perch. His sharp eyes are fixed on the trees scanning the branches for any sign of movement. Across the field the squirrels flatten themselves out on the opposite side of the trees. In spite of hawk’s excellent vision they remain unseen. The squirrels are masters of camouflage and blend into the bark. The hawk’s focus remains unbroken as a lull in the wind falls onto the land and everything stops moving for a moment. Everything that is except for bushy tail sticking out from behind a small hickory tree. The slow nervous twitch keeps the tail moving when everything else had stopped. The hawk spreads his wings as the wind picks up again and he becomes airborne. The powerful wings carry him towards the trees with his razor sharp talons ready to strike. The mid morning sun casts the hawk’s shadow into the thin forest alerting the squirrels that their cover is blown and they scramble for new hiding places. In spite of the hawk’s speed the trees are empty by the time he reaches them. The bushy tail has disappeared deep inside the hollow of the tree it was sticking out from behind. The others have either taken higher positions or left the trees for the cover of the leaf litter on the forest floor. A few found shelter beneath the fallen logs that are scattered around the edges of the field. The hawk looks around bewildered by the sudden loss of his prey and in frustration moves on to the next hunt.
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