Looking out the front door to check on the lawn sprinkler.
Huh? Is that a mouse in the grass? No, it's a mouse in the air! It's holding perfectly still 3 feet off the ground, drinking from the sprinkler.
It sees me. Pang! It disappears backwards without any visible acceleration or flight. Perfectly still then perfectly gone.
Possible explanations for the observed facts: (1) It's a tiny water-powered UFO wearing a mouse suit. (2) It's a hummingbird.
First is more fun, second is more likely.
Haven't seen a hummingbird since 1992, but then I haven't been paying any damn attention
to outdoors until this summer!
= = = = =
Later the same morning: What's with the birds today? Now I've got some kind of hawk perched on the top rail of the chain-link fence in back. In stark contrast with the cute hummingbird, the hawk is calmly ripping apart a carcass [small bird or squirrel, hard to tell] with its talons and eating the choice bits. Never seen a hawk before (except in a zoo) and really
wish I hadn't looked closely at this one. Gonna be hard to 'unsee' the image. ... Later: Fortunately the hawk carried its kill when it flew away, didn't leave the bloody remnants wedged in the fence.
And next day: Squirrels are completely absent today. Normally they're ubiquitous in the cool morning hours. Feeding, fighting, fucking. Not one squirrel is visible today. Zero. Bet the carcass was a squirrel.
And five days later: A handful of squirrels are finally starting to venture out this morning, but they're sticking firmly to the ground so far. Plenty smart.
And two weeks later: Still only a handful, acting like strangers. Looks like the 'regular crowd' has fully abandoned this neighborhood. Selfishly I miss their entertainment, but Darwinically I'm glad they have a community sense of survival. Luckily, hawks don't have anti-discrimination agitators like Al Sharptalon to enforce Diversity against the squirrels. In the animal kingdom, prey are free to leave a neighborhood en masse after it becomes too vibrant. Human prey are not free to leave, even while the vibrant community is tearing out their guts.