* * *
I hear their anguish before I see them.
Picking tomatoes, I turn to look over my shoulder. Three raptors, two clearly Ospreys, their long legs outstretched and wings slightly kinked at the elbow, are flying right towards me and then, just above. A nest—sticks and branches loosely woven on top of a tall platform—stands empty.
Their whistling cries rise and fall without pause. They have landed on my side of a chain link fence, one atop the fence and the other, I believe it to be the female, at the base. She’s screaming, jumping frantically, wings beating on the wires. Her partner hops back and forth above, wings spreading, flapping, then closing. And again.
On the other side of the fence, another raptor stands guard over a prized possession beneath its caped wings. A juvenile eagle, dressed in acorn brown dappled with white, pecks towards the ground with push-pull jabs. It reminds me of the Black Kites in Israel, raptors that dove for trash outside my village.
I move forward. One of the pair eyes me, daring me to approach.
I stay standing in blood-red tomatoes.
Throwing herself, again and again, feathers on the fence, her cries a ululation.
* * *
Kris Haines-Sharp is an educator and writer living in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. She is a 2020-21 Craigardan writer-in-residence where she was selected to study with Kate Moses in the Bookgardan writing program. She is writing a memoir.