Below her the scratchy-voiced birds swooped and pecked at shiny insects making their clicking noises. Her hunger grew and where was her mate? Again she looked downriver and did not see him. She rose from her eggs letting the beaming sun warm them. Now she must eat. Now the river was awakening with noisy hungers: darting flights of starlings; looping, stalling flights of sparrows–all too stringy to interest her. Watching them swoop and peck made hunger’s sharp gravel tumble in her stomach.
Suddenly a pigeon flashed below her.
She flamed into air without thinking, following its zigzagging flight.
The fast flyer did not escape her, as she quickly closed and at the last instant lowered her talon, striking the pigeon in the back. Her clenched golden feet held the limp prize as she flew swiftly to her nest. She landed feeling slightly confused after her mindless rush. With her beak, she plucked mouthfuls of white feathers, and when she saw blood–she ate.
Again she gazed downriver, now a sparkling curve glazed by sunshine flowing into the mountains. Her eyes were light drinking wells of blueblack, circled by gold rings, facing forward, bigger than man-eyes. Focused as one–they magnified things–one of her secrets other creatures did not know.
Scanning the first rapids below, she saw blue dragonflies hovering above the water. The sun grew higher and brighter, and still she did not see her mate returning. Cliffs warmed under yellow morning sun; geysers of wind wafted upward from the flowing band of light, the river below. She sensed the first hot day of spring rising, a gift to her wings.
She gazed upon her eggs. She turned them, making her love-sound, “Chee-yup.”
She faced the rising sun, tipped forward her broad head, and dove from her cliff, as sparrows and starlings screeched and scattered out of sight.
Invisible flames of wind pushed her kite-body into the sky, rising swiftly, letting wind do all the work, windlift so hot and powerful her wings felt twice their normal size, as if inflated with air exhaled from the motherbreaths of the many-feathered earth below. Geysers for wind-sensing wings, she danced on hot risers, following an easing path into the sky, her heartshape dancing upward in powerful hops.