Twice now, looking out into bright spring sunshine against my mountainside, I have seen the shadow of a big bird. Not robin-big, hawk-big. Being slow of foot in a messy room, I was unable to get to the window fast enough to see exactly what was casting the shadow.
But I had assumed that my mountainside was a great refuge for small birds against big birds. It's covered with a rough-grained wire-mesh screen to protect people and cars below from falling rocks, and the mesh is covered and interwoven by a spectacular tangle of old blackberry vines and ferns. If I were a small bird seeking a fairly hawk-proof nesting site, the mini-caves in the mountainside behind the mesh would seem ideal. I, being a small bird, could happily fly in and out through the mesh with worms and insects for my chicks, lacking only fingers with which to give one-finger salutes to the hawks, swooping in frustration behind me.
Still, these shadows are worrisome. It occurs to me now that small birds in transit from nest to insect hunt and back are just as vulnerable as they ever were. Which leads to soppy thoughts of orphaned chicks cheeping "Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy?" I like watching National Geographic TV shows about Nature, red in tooth and claw, but I'd prefer not to see her immediately outside my windows.