It's a chilly midwinter day in historic downtown Sanford, NC.
Bounded on all sides by asphalt and automobiles, the sun-dappled understory of this tiny strip of now-leafless deciduous forest provides a perfect perch for Red Shouldered Hawk.
Silently surveying the entire expanse of leaf-littered Voleville down below, then scanning the perimeter of the parking lot for any sign of feathered prey, the keen-eyed and eared predator is motionless and mute save for its vigilantly swiveling head.
Here at the noontime height of human hustle and bustle, the predator's senses somehow filter through the constant sound and motion of the busy urban street corner, unperturbed by the irrelevance of man's ranting machines, yet perceiving the slightest murmur or twitch from the rat or vole.
Eyes shielded from the sun's glare by the tangle of bare branches, this mid-sized hawk from genus Buteo patiently waits, warm in the sun's embrace, as deadly a hunter sitting here motionless as the peregrine soaring on high.
The faintest rustle in the pecan leaves below.
The auburn-feathered brow cocks ever so slightly...
The eye of the hawk zeroes in...
Our friend the hawk will roost tonight well-fed.