William, Aston and Edward were chirping away happily, nestled deep in the safety of their nest. The morning was cool, misty, and the first gleams of the sun could be made out in the far off horizon. The small family of crows was roosting in a tall, wide, and leafy green tree on the branches near the center for protection and camouflage. One never knew what might come about in the sky. A predator with a keen eye could spot them if they were further out in the branches, and so their home was in the cold shaded center of the tree. Underneath them was grass all around with trees planted every couple meters. Their roosting tree was in the middle of a nature park, with a dirt path running straight through the heart of the heavily forested area. There were also benches situated underneath the trees and in the grassy areas so that people could rest and enjoy the green, unrelenting beauty of nature during the wonderful spring that year.
“Kids, me and your mum will be back soon, you hear. Be quiet you little rascals, and make sure not to peep so loud. We’ll be back with seed, and maybe your favorite, worms!” father said to the hatchlings.
“Bye kids. I’ll be back soon.” mother said affectionately.
“Bye dad, bye mum!” The small month old chicks chirped happily.
And off went mum and dad to forage in the forest and the city buildings for the days meal.
The sun was arcing overhead in the path it had taken since time immemorial. The chicks were quiet and bathed in the little rays that got through to the center of their roosting tree. They all knew how austere and serious dad became if he heard chirping and loud noises when he came back from foraging. They had all learned that lesson the hard way. 2 weeks ago they had been squawking and chirping loudly between themselves at the funny looking dog under the tree.
“Looks like a fat caterpillar with legs!” William had said,
“hahaha, come here, come here, fat caterpillar, hahahaha” William chirped down below at the wiener dog.
“Its just a dog William. Leave it alone” reprimanded Edward.
“I’m just having fun, don’t spoil it hard ass.” William said in turn. Aston watched silently, he was the quiet one of the bunch.
The dog heard the chicks talking about her weird shaped body up above and she barked and scratched at the tree bark trying to get at the baby birds.
“HAHHAAHA, the caterpillar is too fat to climb. HAHAHA!”
William cried out in joy and amusement to the point that small tears had started to form in his eyes from so much laughing.
At that moment their father had swooped in next to the boys. They felt his presence and his stare directed at them, and they all looked down ashamed. They had been caught red handed by father in their loud chirping and cackling. He had told them before he left “Be quiet now boys. Promise me”, and they had given their solemn promise.
“Boys!” Father said in a hushed voice,
“What did I say! I saw a sparrow hawk not half a mile away, with eyes sharp, scanning the park, as I was coming back. Be glad he didn’t come and pay you a visit!” he said in truth, and also to scare the boys to listen to him next time.
He then gave each boy three hard pecks on the head, so that they would remember this day.
“Do you have to be so hard on them? They were just chirping and having fun. Look at them they’re crying now. There there boys, come here” mother crow said.
“NO. Don’t soothe them. You know damn well they broke the rules, and I won’t take any chances now with the sparrow hawk nearby. Let them cry, let them learn.”
“Boys” Father said.
“I did this because I care for you, do you understand. I hope you learned this lesson. I want you all to know that I won’t ever peck you again unless you deserve it, do you understand.”
“Ye, yu, yes father.” the boys managed to stammer out from behind their tears and cries.
Two weeks after, on this sunny day, the boys were stark quiet, not a peep, not a sound, for they had learned their lesson. They curiously viewed the scenery around with a pensive look, weary of the boogy hawk that father had mentioned.
Claire the sparrow hawk looked down below into the depth of a green leafy tree in the center of the park.
“Good they’re finally gone” she thought to herself.
She swooped down below and made her way into the heart of the tree and next to the nest. She looked into the depth of the nest and staring back were 6 big, and wide open eyes, but she heard not a peep or sound, as she had a couple weeks back.
“They do learn quick, these crows. Anyhow, much better now. Fluffier, bigger, and more meat on the bones.” Claire said out loud.
Unfortunately for Claire, she had only 2 sets of talons, she fluttered over into the nest and eyed the nestlings carefully for a second. She clutched 2 of the baby chicks in the tight and unrelenting grip of her talons and flew off.
William was quiet through the whole ordeal, he had shit himself, and peed a little when the hawk had landed next to the nest. The hawk took his two brothers and flew off, and at the sudden shock and adrenaline William had jumped down from the nest. William also sensed instinctively that the nest was no longer safe. He crashed and hit branches and leaves as he tumbled down from the heights of his home. He landed on his side down onto the cushion of the grass below. William shook his head, regaining his senses and stumbled back up. Instantly his feathers and ears pricked up with a new rush of adrenaline. He heard the low, guttural sound of a forming growl from behind him. William turned back and fell back onto the grass. His eyes widened with shock, surprise and irony. The fat caterpillar slowly made its way to William.
Mother had joined father in flight during their way back to the nest.
“They must be hungry by now” father said.
“Yes. They probably are.” mother said in reply.
The parents arrived at the nest, nestled deep between the branches and green leaves of a tall and wide tree.
“I got your favorite boys!” Mother exclaimed happily to the chicks welcoming her back.