Coyote Cries Fowl

The large rock on which I had perched myself overlooked the open basin of the Death Valley. Seated there, I was contemplating life when I saw an older model Volkswagen Bug racing along the gravel roadway below me.

Fortunately, I was far enough away as to not hear the sound the jack rabbit’s head made when it contacted the VW’s left front bumper. The animal cart wheeled wildly as the vehicle continued speeding in what I figured to be a northerly direction.

In the desert, as in any wild environment, nothing goes to waste. So it was no surprise when a murder of five crows quickly arrived to claim the carcass.

Their claim was short-lived as a buzzard swept in to take possession of the dead rabbit. The massive wing span sent the crows scattering to the hot, dry wind.

Immediately, the bird picked up where the crows had left off. However, I could soon tell he was not going to be allowed to enjoy his banquet in peace.

Slinking out of the low scrub and rocks trotted a shaggy, sorry-looking coyote. It was obvious that the wild dog had dealt with the buzzard before and wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the sizable display of wings the bird used as a bluff.

Slowly the coyote circled the bird and the dead rabbit; first to the left, then back to the right, tightening the gap between itself and intended target with each pass. In an opening only seen by the coyote, the mangy looking mutt pounced.

The sudden leap caused the buzzard to spring into the air jus’ out of reach of the coyote’s teeth. Yet, as fast as the bird left the earth, it was back on the ground chasing the coyote away.

Not to be out foxed for its dinner, the coyote wasted no time in knocking the king-of-the-hill buzzard from the rabbit’s body. The pair rolled across the reddened soil, locking in a possible life and death struggle.

Then the buzzard broke free of the wrestling match and with a flap or two of its huge wings, took to the air leaving the coyote the victor. Satisfied, the derelict dog turned to claim it’s hard fought for prize.

Without a warning a hawk came zooming out of the blue to snatch the still warm body from the sand. I wish I knew what in the hell was going through that old canine’s brain as he watched his supper disappear into the morning sky.

Instead, all I could think as I watched the critter turn away was about Saturday morning cartoon’s and the Roadrunner’s ‘Wylie E. Coyote.’

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