Monday, July 26, 2010

Awesome nature in the city moment

My favorite nature in the city moment occurred about a decade ago, when I was taking a walk on the Esplanade, the long stretch of park that runs along the banks of the Charles River in Boston. I spotted a mama duck and about five or six ducklings standing beside the shore. Several people gathered to watch the sight when suddenly a St. Bernard appeared, barking furiously and running toward the ducks. The mother duck started quacking loudly and jumped into the water, with her babies right behind her.

Although his owners were calling for his return, the dog ignored them and jumped into the river after the ducks. The ducks swam as fast as they could behind a rock. Once her ducklings were safe, the mama duck turned and let out what can only be described as a primal scream. She then took off like a low-flying missile aimed right at the dog!

The funniest part was the expression that appeared on the dog's face. You could tell he was thinking, "Oh no, I'm in trouble now!" As if he had just become aware of his owners' calls, he turned and hightailed it back to them as quickly as possible!

By this time, the dozens of people who saw this scene were rolling with laughter and speculating about what would have happened had the duck actually caught the dog. Despite the massive size difference (this was a St. Bernard!), she meant business. As one person pointed out, "This was a wild duck protecting her babies, vs. somebody's pet."

Yesterday I experienced another awesome nature in the city moment, and my daughter was there to see it as well! We attended Tacoma's annual Ethnic Fest held in Wright Park. As we walked along the duck pond in the park, a guy who passed us pointed to an area of the pond where hundreds of half-foot long goldfish were swimming. Just as we arrived at the area with the fish, we heard a whistling sound and saw something drop from the sky so fast we couldn't tell what it was. It landed with an explosive splash in the water. A few seconds later, we saw wet wings emerge and a bird lifted into the air. Not just any bird, either--this was a hawk who had caught a nice, juicy goldfish for lunch!

I remember watching a story on TV a few years ago about a family of hawks nesting on the eaves of a tall building near Central Park in New York City. People came out daily with binoculars to watch as the parents fed their babies, and as the fledglings began to learn to fly. It was an amazing sight, and highly unusual, according to the announcer, to have a family of hawks make its home in the city. Well, it seems that Tacoma has at least one hawk living here! And perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. We seem to have plenty of deer around here, even in the central city, not just the outskirts.

No comments:

Post a Comment