Bird control

Photo ©Sébastien Bertru



A hen harrier circles the ploughed field, circles and

circles then swoops, and a flock of pigeons rises in a


compact, silvery glittering flutter, wheeling circling,

compact and glittering. Pigeon panic circles and flutters


away from the field drawn back again by the knowledge

of food, circling, in silver flutters beneath the golden sun.


The harrier, having missed the kill waits circling and

circling, drawing a crow family, sensing a fight, settling


in noisy mob pose in the trees. Pigeons panic a silver

cloud over the poplars, wheeling away and back while


crows wait and harrier watches. Over the ploughed

field the silver circling cloud flutters, sinks and settles


and the harrier is there, a pale, ghost-winged presence.

Crow mob clatters into flight, their ragged wings


clutching the air like hands clawing as they pivot on

nothing, yelling and snapping six black-cloaked


mobsters rattling beak blows and claws, circling,

wheeling, rising up beneath dropping from above,


fearless and aggressive. The hen harrier harried

mercilessly spreads pale wings, black-tipped and floats


away, leaving the silver cloud scattered among the furrows

and the black-cloaked vigilantes masters of the winter air.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

19 thoughts on “Bird control”

    1. I wanted to write it down, but wasn’t sure what I’d written in the end, prose or poem. There’s always bird action round here, and where there’s action there are crows.

  1. The birds do control their own. They don’t need help from us.

    This phrase strikes (flies?) in the best way possible: “Pigeons panic a silver

    cloud . . .”

  2. I particularly like the way you describe the behaviour of the “crow mob”. It’s a tough life being a hen harrier, persectuted by man (in the UK, not sure about France?) and crows alike. The harrier harried.

    1. The crows attack all the big raptors but they never bother with the kestrels. No idea why but they give all the big birds of prey a hard time.
      They probably do get shot somewhere but most birds of prey are protected.

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