Mid morning had turned into a bright and sunny day. It had started out to be overcast and cold but the sunshine was slowly raising the temperature to a comfortable level. Still cruising at this height was a little more nippy than Harold would have preferred.
As Harold Hawk glided in a large circular motion high above the wooded area he could see his brother Henry gliding a little lower but in the same pattern. The thing that would take the chill off his wings would be a nice small snack to hold him the rest of the day until dinner time. Harold called over to Henry asking if he had spotted anything that might be good for a snack.
"Don't bother me now," Henry said, "I think I got my eye on some finches down there somewhere. I saw some movement."
Harold switched his pattern to get a little closer to that of Henry's. He was about twenty feet above Henry and started to focus his eyes down into the woods. He studied the trees as he swung around in an arc trying to see what Henry was thinking was a nest. He couldn't see anything moving at all within the trees.
"Where at? What kind of tree?" Harold inquired continuing to gaze down into the thicket of green leaves that often protected sources of food from the brothers.
"I think, "Henry said then hesitated a moment. "Yes, there is movement in that maple tree over there. About halfway down on it. I think it is a nest with some new birds in it."
Harold focused sharply in on the tree that Henry had point out. No movement. He took another lap around his flight pattern and on the other side of the tree he finally saw it. It was a nest for sure and there were little birds in it. From where he was so high up it looked like maybe three of them were waiting for their dinner to arrive.
"I am going to move in closer" Henry called out, "I think we found breakfast and it looks good."
"I'll follow you down and maybe we can both get a little something."
"Okay Harold, but I get first pick." Henry demanded.
That was okay with Harold. It was only right that Henry get first choice of the birds since he had been the one to spot the nest.
Francine Finch was out looking for food for her newborns. They were a week old now and were requiring a lot of food each day. The father, Fred, was somewhere on the other side of the nest looking for food as well. Fred had a bad habit of eating some for himself while flying on his way back to the nest and not having much food for the children when he arrived. It was a habit that irritated Fran tremendously. She could not count the number of times she had scolded Fred and told him that the Kids eat first and THEN we eat. Fred had no self control when it came to food though.
Fran had spotted a couple of hawks circling over the forested area. They did not seem to be focused in the area where her home was though. She realized that she had to keep an eye on them because they could spot a nest from extreme heights. She kept one eye on the ground looking for food but kept track of how the hawks were flying at the same time. When the hawks were in the air there was no time to be lazy. You had to be alert and at the ready to protect to children of the hawks found them.
Suddenly she saw one of the hawks drift down to just above the tree tops. Right after the first hawk was a second hawk that was descending at the same rate. This did not look good and she dropped the worm that was in her mouth as she rushed to the nest as fast as she could.
"FRED!!!!" Fran yelled with urgency. "FRED!!! HAWKS ARE COMING DOWN ON THE NEST!"
Fred heard Fran and looked up. He was just finishing a snack when Fran had yelled out her warning. He looked up and sure enough, two hawks were silently gliding down towards their tree. He tried to gauge their proximity to the nest. From where he stood it look like they were heading over towards the Robins nest instead of theirs. Still if he didn't come and check it out, he would never hear the end of it, even if it were the Robins who were under attack instead of them. Fred shook his body a little and slowly lifted up and swirled around a tall tree before heading to the nest. He had eaten too much. He was feeling tired but still, he decided it was best to make his way to the nest.
Henry was getting close to the nest and sure enough, there were four little birds just waiting to be dinner. He circled around a couple of more times trying to figure out which one he wanted. That second one looked pretty good and so his mind had decided the fate of one of the finch babies.
Suddenly he heard a screeching noise and felt one of his wings get hit from behind. The mother had spotted him and had come to protect the family. Henry always hated it when the parents got involved in his business. All it did was make him have to work a little harder for his meal. Occasionally he would decide it was not worth the effort and fly away to find food elsewhere, but not today. Henry had his mind made up. As long as the father didn't show up for a couple of minutes both of the Hawk brothers should have a tasty little snack.
Again he heard the screech and felt a nip on his wing. It hurt a little but still he had his mind made up..
"Harold," Henry called out, "We got a mother here, let's do the slip and glide and get this over with."
"Right behind you brother" Harold called out and he immediately swooped down towards the nest cutting in front of Henry. The idea was to draw the mother's attention away from Henry for a split second and pull her away from from the nest so Henry could have a clean shot at the nest. Then Harold would swoop down very quickly as the mother would no doubt start chasing Henry to save her child as Harold took another one.
Fran Finch was in a panic. She wondered where that husband of hers was but there was no time to wait for him. She started harassing the hawk that was closest to the nest. She yelled and screeched and tried to bite at his wings to keep him away from the nest. Finally it seemed to be working. The hawk started to drift away. Just as she was starting to feel relief she saw the other hawk swoop down towards the nest. Fran went into protection mode immediately and tried to push the second hawk away. as she did this, she saw the first hawk dive down on the nest and in horror she watched as on of the children cried as it was lifted into the air in the talons of the invading hawk. She flew as fast as she could to try to save the child but as she started chase she heard the cry of another of her offspring. The second hawk had glided down and taken a second one of her children and was flying off in the opposite direction. With a heavy heart, Fran came to realize that she had lost two of her babies and she flew back to the nest to calm down the two remaining ones wondering the whole time where Fred had been.
Harold caught up to Henry as the made their way back to an old sycamore tree they liked to hang out at. The maneuver had worked perfectly. They would have a nice little brunch in a few minutes when they arrived at the tree.
"Good call Henry." Harold said to his brother as they flew sided by side, the little bird wiggling in the talons as it slowly died from loss of blood.
"Couldn't have done it without you." said Henry as he landed on a branch of the sycamore tree. The two hawks then toasted each other and began their meal. Tender and fresh. Harold figured this was going to be a very good day considering how it had started out. The sun was out. It was warm and he was having a fresh breakfast. Yes, this was a pretty good day.
Fran sat on the edge of the nest trying to calm the two remaining children. Suddenly Fred appeared on the edge of the nest. He looked around and noticed that two of the kids were gone. His heart sank. The hawks were after his nest after all. He tried to comfort Fran and to tell her he was sorry.
"Where were you?" cried Fran. "I was fighting off two of them by myself. There just wasn't enough of me to be able to protect them."
Fred muttered trying to find the right words but no words would come out. All he could muster up was a weak "I'm sorry" and try to think of something else to say.
"Fran," he finally started to say but she turned on him with hateful eyes.
"Leave Fred. Just leave." Fran demanded.
Fred sat and looked at his wife and he knew that he had made a terrible mistake.
"Leave now Fred" Fran said sadly. "There is nothing left for you here. I can protect the last two by myself. I don't need you anymore."
Fred looked at Fran trying to catch her eye but she ignored him. He sat for awhile longer hoping that she was just speaking out of her emotions.
"NOW" said Fran. "LEAVE NOW"
Fred looked at his wife with sadness and start to fly off to the other side of the woods in exile. He had had it all but lost it all just because he was a little selfish and hungry. He would never see Fran again. As Fred was flying along he noticed a building with lots of windows. HE thought of all he had failed at. He had lost two children and his wife. He was exiled to the other side of the woods where he knew no one. Fred made a sharp turn and started flying as fast and as hard as he could towards the window in the building. He hit it so hard he never felt a thing. His body fell to the ground amongst some pine needles. It was the price he felt he had to pay.