by Tina Blue
June 6, 2003

          My friend Randy is a nature lover and an avid bird watcher.  Once when he was out walking in the fields in western Kansas, communing with nature, he was startled by a covey of quail that suddenly flew up in front of him.  One minute he was strolling along, lost in revery, and the next, FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP!--a whole bunch of birds leapt right up into his face.

          Randy is a pretty calm fellow, but that sudden explosion of quail nearly gave him a heart attack!

          I told him that I could just imagine all those birds, huddled together in the tall grass, snickering and shushing each other,
"Quiet! Shush! Here he comes! OK, everyone, NOW!"

          I've had my own heart-stopping FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! experience, so I know how shocking it can be.

          Late one morning my friend Michael and I were walking down the hill from campus after our morning classes.  We sauntered under a canopy of trees, enjoying the gorgeous weather.

          Suddenly, FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! FWAP! A hawk swooped down right past our faces to snatch a squirrel from the edge of a lawn just a couple of feet in front of us.  The wind from its wings actually blew my hair into my eyes!

          When the hawk perched right there in a tree and began to enjoy his meal, Michael and I detoured into the street, to avoid what was dripping from the feast.

          Hawks are plentiful in Lawrence, Kansas, even right inside the city limits.  One couple I know don't dare let their three toy poodles play in their fenced back yard.  Their dogs are just about the same size as the rabbits and squirrels they've frequently seen snatched from their back yard by hawks.  They can't bear to think that Tinkerbell, Fluffy, and Chelsea might get similarly snarfed.

          How awful would that be?  You're outside in the back yard playing with your beloved pets, when suddenly--

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