By Danielle Higgins

 

Through my huge dark round eyes I kept wistful watch over the wood each and every night. While the others slept softly snoozing under the bright yellow crescent moon I kept lookout. It was in late November when a poacher man dressed in rags with a basket, stick and hook stumbled upon our neck of the woods. At first he would forage in the light of day for wild mushrooms, plums, berries and cob nuts in small quantities, but his hunger grew. Every night geese squawking in trauma would flap frantically until his haunting hook broke some poor souls neck. While, whole communities of rabbits were captured in the cruellest of ways and left to suffer slow undignified deaths. Even the crayfish in the river, and our eggs- all gone! Our community had never witnessed such carnage, and I could do nothing. I helplessly watched on and recorded what I witnessed night after night. Hopelessly, I hung my head to the leaf covered ground and wept relentlessly.  

 

On my panic stricken travels to find a solution I floundered past some fellow citizens flying freely, and in passing conversation we set out to stop the poacher whom had made our lives so unbearable. Our plan would be unstoppable. Unbreakable! We waited and watched and waited some more.....Only the moon-light flickered on the rivers water and everything calm. Like clockwork the poacher came bound dutifully as a creature of habit.

 

I found my position and flew flapping frantically at his head. He cried out in pain as my claws scratched at his spinelessness. Then what sounded like a choir of angels that came to my rescue; a multitude of beautiful birds sang as loud as could be. Tu-we, to-witta-woo, zzzzzd and clack clack clack, the wood was filled with all manner of amazing sounds. The hungry sparrow-hawk swept into the poacher pecking at his eyes and fingers. The shrills became alarming. As more birds heard, the more joined in on the crazy frenzy, and the kestrel swooped in and clawed at his berry stained cheek. The poacher injured and traumatized fled swiftly back over his tracks sometimes stumbling in the dark. His silhouetted figure bent doubled and visibly crippled with pain.

 

As the events of the evening settled I took stand on my post, and wide awake watched the wild and green wood in its richness and splendour. The calm river shimmering under the soft light of the moon. Where blurred black bats are glimpsed and gone. How the sweet calls and tunes of birds sing themselves to sleep. These melodies hummed in celebration of the start of my watch. Lord and master of all I survey; for now and all of the night hours these huge big eyes will watch over the wood. Woe betides who trespasses here and unsettles my watch!

Wise Owl! Eyes Like a Hawk