What does it mean when you and your dog are nearly beaned by a rooster that's falling from the sky? In this particular case, it means a neighborhood pet has had a close encounter with a hawk.
On a cold, gray afternoon last week, Becky Earle was visiting her Woodland Heights neighbor Margaret Storer. Their chat in Storer's back driveway off Tenth Street was interrupted by the sudden barking of Storer's white boxer, Tilly. Earle recalls that the yelping sounded "like a danger bark," but the two neighbors saw nothing unusual in the backyard to upset the dog.
Then Earle glanced skyward.
A large brown mass came flying toward her, swerving and diving erratically toward the ground. "I thought, 'Holy shit! Look at the size of that thing!' "
Two birds -- a powerful red-tailed hawk and a rooster struggling in its clutches -- were zooming in. Earle says the rooster was putting up a game fight to free itself from the hawk's sharp talons. Within seconds, the hawk dropped its dinner about ten feet from Earle. "It went plop! right on the driveway," she says. "It landed like a wet bag of cement, except feathers flew up."