I think I just witnessed a murder.
We live on the 5th floor of an old apartment. The stately old trees in the neighbourhood are just about level with my roof. I’ve gotten to know not just the treetops but the birds who call them home.
Early this spring, a pair of Blue Jays moved into the pine just in front of our balcony. I watched their coming and going, figuring they were building a nest. The bright blue male and his quieter female brought twigs, fabrics and pieces of things to create their home. Each morning I hear their calls… from the squeaky clothesline chirp to their uncanny mimicry of hawks.
I’ve watched them flutter back and forth among the tall pine’s branches.
This afternoon they created quite the ruckus. While my ears just heard birds, my soul heard terror. After listening to the battle for several minutes, I looked out my bedroom window. I could see the frantic Blue Jay parents flitting from branch to branch while screaming.
My heart knew their babies were under attack.
Not only did I feel it, but my husky tuned in to their distress, as well. She cried, and ran to the window as I looked out, her ears perked while whines rolled up in her throat. I could make out something jerking in the branches. A squirrel, perhaps? The father jay was frantic; dive-bombing the predator then retreating to a higher branch. His shrill call sounding like a siren. I screamed from my window, hoping my voice would scare the predator. But it had no effect.
Annie whimpered and cried again.
When I turned away from the window, my dog knew I was heading to the balcony. She raced ahead to the sliding door, begging to be let out. We both burst outside, helpless yet hopeful that the Blue Jay parents would win.
I could see the squirrel scurrying down the tree trunk.
“They don’t eat eggs, do they?” I wondered.
Yes. They do. A quick google search told me all I needed to know. Those absentminded nuts were omnivorous. They’d gladly eat seeds… but they would hunt for fresh protein.
I clasped my hand over my mouth, but the scream still escaped.
I knew from the commotion. I knew from my heart. I knew from my dog – who was a young mommy – that something terrible had happened.
Just like that. In a blink of a rainy Saturday afternoon. I witnessed a murder.
The tree is silent. But I can’t forget.