it was a beautiful summer day in new york yesterday (in the middle of winter) so i went for a nice long walk in riverside park. as i headed down the path, toward the hudson river, i noticed two men standing near a park bench, having an intense chat, pointing at something on the grass. there was a bird -- huge, brown and white -- devouring another bird.
"it's a falcon" the first man said. "he's killed a pigeon and now he's eating it."
i stood and watched with the two men. before we knew it, there was a smart looking, middle-aged japanese woman standing next to us (and yes, she was japanese.) she didn't speak. she just watched the scene intently. all at once, seven more people stopped to watch the bird. then another four. and another three.
"it's a swallow hawk" one man announced to the crowd. "they're everywhere in new york. they eat swallows. he's eating a swallow."
"oohh" the crowd murmured.
after he left, a woman moved up to get a better look and said "it's a swallow hawk?"
a man standing directly behind her said "no. it's a red-tail. there are no swallow hawks in new york. it's a red-tail, and he's eating a pigeon. that's too big to have been a swallow."
the woman said "but that other man said..."
"he was wrong."
"well i hate pigeons" the woman said quietly.
eventually, the crowd dispersed, although i'm not sure why -- the feast went on for at least another ten minutes or so. only the japanese woman stayed.
i tried to get a good photo. i must have taken 40 or so pictures of the damn thing and this is the best i got. you have to look very closely to make out the bird. i need a new camera.
finally the bird stopped, looked up, and flew to a nearby tree. the japanese woman -- without looking at me -- said definitively, "it's a hawk."