Crow-sized, the Cooper in the small tree turns *her small head left, then straight ahead one, two, three, four twitchy times before she chooses, launches, turns a full silhouette towards me, wings extended, threading branches, cutting onto the snow, small birds scattering like shrapnel. Her talons empty — back to a worktable, to the top of a birdhouse, to the tree again. She hunts the yard and the tangled field stalks for ten minutes and eight times comes off her perch so fast for a strike that she fools my eye every time. On her ninth attack she hits a junco on the ice and without pause, all in one fluid, harmonic motion of dive, clutch and ascent she climbs in a steep arc over the big trees and disappears. She leaves a stillness behind, the field emptied of life. Seconds later dozens of birds appear on the snow around the feeders as if they had flown out of another dimension.
*female Coopers are bigger than the males. She seemed larger.