But first, our special Christmas Eve story.
As I drove into Mom's driveway last night, I saw a hawk sitting calmly in the middle of the street in front of her house. Then I saw that it was sitting on another bird, not much smaller than itself, about pigeon-sized. It was hard to tell exactly what it was, because the hawk was clawing it with its talons, the way your cat kneads the afghan.
This was one cool bird. It never gave any sign of flight as I drove up, and the only thing that kept me from getting close enough to get a really good picture was my respect for the creature. Okay, fear. I didn't want to get the treatment it was giving its victim.
I watched out Mom's living room window for the longest time, waiting to see what would happen. It began to pluck the feathers off the other bird, tentatively at first and then in a kind of a frenzy of pecking and clawing. It was sort of hopping up and down on its prey, and turning in circles as it did so, but it never let go or separated itself.
It was wary, though, stopping every so often to look into the sky and listen. When it reached the meat I stopped watching, but I checked back a few minutes later and both the hawk and its meal were gone, leaving nothing but a scattered pile of feathers.
During this time, I took pictures from the driveway and the front porch, but the best I could get were these.