Story of the Day

I was walking south past Mel Lastman Square this afternoon when a really lumpy bird flying overhead caught my eye. Even as I tried to focus on it, it separated in two. One very sleek bird continued more or less on the original trajectory, while another bundle of feathers fell like a stone. I tried to follow the raptor, and even as I did I heard the muted "wump" of the lump of feathers landing on the roof of a car. I almost immediately lost sight of the raptor, in part because of the trees it flew into but also because I was distracted by looking at the source of the sound. A few steps south and I see an anxious-looking man climbing out of his parked SUV, looking every direction - and not even registering the stunned pigeon standing on the roof of his car less than a metre from his face. I called out "a hawk dropped it!," pointing at the pigeon. It took him several seconds to process this - register the pigeon, and then scale back the mental disaster: "I thought a crane had dropped on my car, or at least someone had hit me ..." Apparently it made a hell of a noise inside. The pigeon was alive and standing, but quite clearly not functional. We were both within a metre of it, talking, and it didn't move at all.

Sadly, I didn't get a good look at the raptor. I would say it was mid-sized - not as large as a red-tail hawk, which is about the only raptor I'd have a hope in hell of identifying. But I thought it was too big for a Peregrine. All I got was a quick impression of the colour of its underside: mostly white, some light-to-medium gray, maybe (only maybe) a touch of black. Sounds exactly like a Peregrine - and having looked them up, they're not as small as I thought. So evidently North York Centre has itself a Peregrine. Or possibly several: the area has an abundance of both high-rises (a Peregrine's favourite home) and pigeons ...

And as a last comedic touch to the story, as I was walking home I left a message on a friend's answering machine. They called me back and swore I had said "a kitchen fell out of the sky." (The word was ... "pigeon.")