On an evening of no particular importance, as little puffy clouds cleared from the skies, a fresh sun shown in obvious brilliance, notably providing thermals perfect for a lazy soar above the city.
For one particular bird watched at a mid-May scene on a Monday evening, there it was comfortable above hordes of urban people indifferent to something looking down upon them, since the humans decided to ride in sealed cars, be enclosed in a house or apartment, or otherwise were so unaware of the significant wonder of a fresh May day.
Gliding on the air was notably easy, as strong winds took a particular hawk around-and-round above Saddle Creek, which is really a road. Despite the pesky grackles - a bunch of a dozen pestering the hawk's indifference - onward was its steady, circular glide to the east. Soon, it was up over there, above Walnut Hill, which is actually a developed neighbourhood.
In a brief span of few minutes and so readily enjoyed whilst stepping along the steep part of one street, towards the top of the bluff, most of them blackbirds of the country club pines, followed the potential threat as it floated away. With their focus on homeland security, and after a successful confrontation and eviction, conditions were again safe, and besides, there were birdly tasks preferable to being in a mob and haphazardly hazing some raptor indifferent to ground conditions.
Once over Walnut Hill, there were only five or so flying in the hawk's close space. There was nothing on the ground to dive after so the Buteo just kept along its personal and unique expression of flight in the midtown air space.
In the skies a distance to the south, with uncertainty of the actual distance, as miles could apply, but it was less than that, or blocks but that is just too urbane, or leagues, but that term is given only because of a relapse into historic presentation.
Over and above Carthage, a companion of the sky was also about, making its own route. Its focus was to find some hefty, and aged carcass big enough to grab a chunk for a meal. Dead meat is pretty scarce in the river city, but a bunch of the Turkey Vultures seem to like the night life, west of Wood Creek, in Memorial Park. They found a fine spot for their roost. The trees have been a prime place, as known only since after 2000. They make the place renowned because of their antics during the current millenium. In the back yard of a mansion, they gather, again and again, to add a subtle and majestic tinge to the evening skies as they float in, circle about, and then settle in the comfort of a branch perfect for the night's shelter. The place has provided this haven again and again, across a span of years.
Doves were cooing in back-yards along the blocks within Carthage.
Swifts were the species of this May Monday. They define the sky, mark the daily hours, are deserve the focus of the day, in memory of a chimney destroyed by urban expansion in North Downtown Omaha.
The hawk over Saddle Creek - appreciated as it was - is indifferent to the plight of the swifts, but as the day waned, there aren't any more swifts above the remnants of a former haunt. The birds can't write a letter. They can't call on the phone, and there ain't any way they could ever send an email to support protection of their neighborhood.
Chimney Swifts would certainly appreciate some new havens, yet each of the new buildings constructed in North Downtown, for example at Creighton University, don't have any chimney. None of them, and they spread across many blocks. There are pillars of brick, yet the swifts have less and less, each and every year because of campus expansion which is based upon building destruction.
It has probably been decades since the population of swifts in Omaha have found a newly built chimney built along with some new construction.
Swift haunts have been continually removed and continue to drastically lessen the places where the essential and important bugeaters can find shelter and raise a brood.
Sure they are immigrants each year - after spending another season in the tropics - but they subtly arrive and depart, and don't require any welfare subsidies.
Birds linger and are expressive in places where they can safely sing and frolic. Without disturbance... . There are other notable activities, especially for resident birds, but those details are of interest to only a slight bunch, known as bird watchers, or some other appellation.
The array of comments about birds is never ending, and alas, even a tidbit of time watching a Red-tailed hawk being hazed by a bunch of Common Grackles, is amongst the vast awareness of wild birds appreciated by hordes of people.
Spring is a special time to appreciate all the glory and subtlety of birds amongst the haunts of Omaha, even in the blase realm amongst the hills of Carthage and Dundee. May 18, 2010.