Eating Disorder

The early morning sun pierced the mist like beams from searchlights sweeping the sky to catch enemy planes. Their first victim was a large shadowy bird of prey, wheeling and hovering over the lush green fields. Hungry goshawk looking for breakfast. A sudden swoop, a flurry of brown wings, dull choking  and then, silence. Nearby a flock of deer busily grazing hardly batted an eyelash at the everyday slaughter. Was it a pheasant or a hare? Who cares?

In one synchronised movement, the deer suddenly lift up their heads from the long grass and turn towards the goshawk, already ripping at its prey with razor beak. They were disturbed by the loud clamour of a flock of crows, diving like a swarm of attack planes  to chase the goshawk away. The crows won, and started to fight over the bloody spoils. From a distance it looked like a young hare. The deer lost interest and returned to their grass. The goshawk left the scene for the protection of the woods without further ado, resigned to another lost breakfast like a football player shown a red card.

A deep guttural  cry, repeated, warned the crows and their lesser relatives, a family of magpies, who had also been attracted by the chance of a free breakfast. An old black raven circled over the noisy crows like a heavy bomb plane, carefully choosing its target, then landed in their midst. The outsize creature took command of the carcass lying there, strutting around and bobbing its head. Eating order was restored.

The disgruntled crows reluctantly retreated, some with bloodied beaks. They sat nearby on some old fence poles crowing and squawking, waiting their turn while bewailing their relegation in the pecking order.

The magpies retired to a safe distance from the crows, chattering incessantly to protest their position at the bottom of the food chain.

The deer gradually moved away from the fowl commotion to find  more peaceful breakfast surroundings.

The goshawk was already hunting a new prey, now that the crows were occupied.



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