“Big Brassy Buzzard?” Tanka 1004

(March 19, 2018)


big brassy buzzard

cruises old live oak treetops

a squirrel breakfast


the still before a gust-front

tomorrow is the big-un*


  • (It was such a full flashing view of the big raptor or carrion cleaner – a buzzard of a bald eagle – both will take their meals live of dead.
    And when I play the memory tape of this momentary flash, the birds massive wings were almost completely flat all across the trailing edge, indicating a Bald Eagle.  And now is the time Bald Eagles – male, like the one I believe I saw, big and imposing, female or juvenile relative attached to the mated pair to help feed the nest, are watchful this month as for some eggs hatch and for others yawing beaks down-surrounded and small cries of constant hunger send these magnificient hunter/gatherers of The Raptor Nation across our skies.  I have seen a bald eagle turn upside down over Lake Monroe in my hometown of Sanford, Florida, USA, and by strength of talon and stunning aerobatics wrest a four pound mullet from the gripping talons of an Osprey.)

3 thoughts on ““Big Brassy Buzzard?” Tanka 1004

  1. We have red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks, though for the life of me I discern less difference: the kestrels and nighthawks annoy the drowsing great horned and other owls in deep “runs” rapidly disappearing as our cypress communities pull up stakes in favor of Disney World support service communities and massive hospitals for we crocheties and a national tennis center not named Flushing Meadow. My Florida county – as is the case with the rest of the state – does not release maps of Bald Eagle nesting sites and for good reason. I have been privileged to sit a Bald Eagle working nest (to monitor and “control” construction noises and other intrusions into their dwindling domain: my reward, when the two surviving – of three! – youngsters had just fledged and mom and pop and auntie flying cover had them out exercising their wings, all four flew just 15 feet over my head on their last pass. When the parents still were restoring their next and were “taking the air(s) – in great circling swoops, one of my employers and her daughter (my then-three-year-old niece) trekked out to the mixed-forest swampy area I used for my watchsite, and I pointed to the high-above circling mated pair and said to my niece: Do you see that little white puff – looks like down – floating in a spiral down to us (it was 30 or 40 feet above,” and as we both watched and her mom assumed snake-patrol as earlier I had seen a goodly-sized water moccasin at this same creekbed – moor a seep really but wet and moving nonetheless – earlier in the morning, I reached out my hand just past the little girl’s awe-filled eyes and the puff of white neck-feather floated to a touchdown in my upturned palm. This ever-inquisitive young lass turned her eyes towards mine and said: We have to put the feather down now, right, Uncle J? And the time a big male swooped up and behind a mullet-ladened Osprey, eased back on its flight, got just behind the Osprey and flipped upside down to take – swipe! – the three- or four-pound fish – from the startled and crying ‘sprey – and beat off across Lake Monroe. What I was aiming at – and got happily distracted – was the state and county’s mostly successful efforts to avoid publicizing Bird of Prey nesting sites to whittle down on potential annoyances during Eagle nesting season. There are more than 50 registered nesting sites for just Eagles in out Central Florida County. And all that development has meant more puppies and kittens to glean off the roadways and sometimes the sidewalks while still motive. Since we have few if any active goat- or sheep ranches and the internet posts stunning video – from licensed climbers and naturalists – the incidence of Eagle Nest harassment is vanishingly rare hereabouts. I’m glad I came down to the library today to post some of my own – and to encounter yours, Dwight.


  2. Forgot my fave: almost 10 years ago while walking across downtown Sanford’s centennial park (city incorporated 1877) I encountered a grounded peregrine falcon. Stock still I stood for what seems hours or at least minutes but was probably just a few hands full of seconds and bird and I regarded each other. Slowly I sat cross-legged and brought up my flip-phone for what turned out to be a terrible shaded-by-shadow shot. At the click said falcon flew. And that brought back memories of years before I saw a P-F twisting and turning in final fatal maneuvers over a flown-coop homing pigeon at near-ground level just a dozen feet from my eyes. I was so entranced it took me a full minute past both birds remaining in view before I turned to the door of my favorite dive oyster bar for my own lunch.


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