What is it with Me and Voles?

7 January 2012

It was 65 F today so I went biking on the canal tow path. The water in the canal was pretty clear, unlike during the summer when it supports thick, green, oozing matts of blooming algae — making the whole thing look like a giant trough of creamed spinach at a Holiday Inn breakfast buffet. And the mallards and the Canada geese just seem to revel in that stuff. No more bird hunting for me!

Just west of Georgetown, I came upon a “Discovery Channel Moment”: a Red Shouldered hawk perched in a tree on the side of the path, devouring a vole. He must have been hungry because he didn’t fly off when I paused to share this life and death moment. The alert reader of my websayito will recall that I wrote an entry last February 14th on this very topic, although in that case it was a Red Tailed Hawk carrying off a hapless vole who had been nesting happily in my compost heap.

Voles, as you know, are rodents who failed to brand themselves as well as mice and so missed out on the Walt Disney bonanza and then — many years later — the pointing device bonanza. Some complain, even, that they are profiled by raptors, in much the way “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio hauls in anyone he overhears speaking Spanish down in Arizona.

Since Mister Hawk was too busy eating to talk, I ask the vole what kind of day he was having.

“Not good,” he replied.

“I can see that. In fact, I’m surprised you can talk at all. Isn’t that your large intestine I see going down his gullet?”

” ”

Rupert Scofield


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