Friday, March 04, 2005


I went out to feed the horses this morning, and you know the way it is when you've done the same thing, the same way for years. It's routine so your mind is elsewhere, otherwise occupied.

Carrying the buckets of horse feed, I was about to open the gate when suddenly, a shadow appeared on the ground, moving fast in front of me almost at my feet. In other words, something was behind me and way too close. I felt my hair move as whatever it was sailed over my head, before crashing through the leaves of the old pear tree I was standing next to and under.

Several months ago, going out to feed one afternoon, a huge shadow came up from behind me. It was so big and unexpected, I ducked when whatever it was seemed to hover over me for an instant. The shadow then moved off and all I was left with was the impression that it was a bird of some sort (maybe a hawk?), and it was big.

My impression was confirmed a few days later when I actually got a chance to see it clearly, scratching through leaves in my yard. I don't know which one of us was more startled: it took off while I stood there watching it, my mouth hanging open.

It's not that we haven't had various kinds of critters in the area over the years, it's just that they stayed hidden in the woods for the most part. But with all of the development going on, some are having to move elsewhere.

After a friend pointed me to a website, I finally found out for sure what "Big Bird" was.

Red-tailed Hawk

Not long after, "Lady Hawk" joined the newly renamed "Mr. Hawk," something wonderful began to occur: a marked decrease in the volume of damned squirrels!

We've seen Mr. Hawk and his lady daily, sometimes several times a day swooping in and out of the trees and sometimes, shooting by the window through the passageway between the house and garage. Whether offspring or they've been joined by other refugees, there's definitely now a third hawk (and possibly a fourth) soaring in the skies overhead.

Probably not offspring, but if offspring, then Mr. and Mrs. Hawk have nested nearby. Where? We're not sure but have been on the lookout. Perhaps the old oak in front? The big old pine in back that they seem to favor. Or . . .

I thought I had the answer this morning when I ducked. The hawks are defending their nest! The pear tree!

I turned my head slowly, very slowly, and looked between the leaves that were still moving, at the branch only a foot or so away, where whatever that had whizzed over my head had landed and was still perched.

Perched, SMERCHED!

It was a member of the next generation of damned squirrels sitting there giving me hell, that had jumped from the roof of the feed shed. And (ducking again) here came another one following the same route.


Blogger Mark said...

Birdwatching and shoveling horsepucky - That's the life for me!

1:17 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Winter has definitely passed. A red-tailed hawk wheeled overhead, maybe twenty feet up, this afternoon. They nest in the oak trees that line the creek edge of our property. I like to think that they will feed better since there are less cats to compete with than there used to be, and there are less cats because of a family of coyotes. Just Nature finding her way.

11:51 PM  

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