Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What a day...

The most incredible thing happened to me today…

I came home early from work and as I was turning into my driveway (which is behind my house) I was surprised to find a HAWK sitting there calmly enjoying a meal. Now I live in the ‘burbs, so seeing something like this – at least for me-- is a first and pretty damn amazing.

She (I’m assuming) seemed unconcerned by my presence as I parked my car across the way and approached her. I discovered later and after some research that she was a Cooper’s Hawk.

She had her prey (an unfortunate Starling) placed protectively under her claw and watched my every move. She unfortunately was in a position that made it impossible for me to enter my back yard. I wasn’t about to frighten her into attacking. At one point she crouched and glared at me with ruby eyes as though to say, “Don’t even think about it.”

I found myself with a dilemma. Should I try and edge past her? Should I call someone? I took a good twenty minutes just looking at her and her beauty, totally captivated.

I finally decided to call a bird sanctuary I knew of nearby. The lady I spoke with just worked the office and said she would have the ornithologist call me back. The office worker asked me what the hawk was doing and if she seemed injured. She looked perfectly fine to me and the office worker suggested I edge slowly past her. I did so, in the most non-threatening way I could and spoke softly to her the whole time.

Once in my yard I ran into the house to grab my digital camera and took several photos. Sadly, they didn’t come out well. The camera is a woefully inadequate thing I got practically for free through my job’s gift program. So now, when the refund comes in, that’s the one special purchase I plan to make.

But back to my beautiful hawk – hey she was mine for a little while anyway. She moved back when I approached again, dragging the prey with her, taking nips but her eyes still never leaving me. I snapped the photos and continued to speak to her.

Afterwards the bird sanctuary called back and I described what I was seeing. The specialist verified what the office worker had told me and I again said the hawk seemed fine. I asked her if by my description she had any idea what type it might be and the Cooper’s was one of the choices. I looked the species up later and lo and behold, there she was.

Then the specialist said she was probably just waiting to finish her meal and wasn’t quite ready to do so yet, and I should just give her some privacy (oops) and as long as she didn’t seem injured she’d leave on her own. She was glad that I called. I explained I hadn’t wanted to just leave the hawk there if she was injured and I wanted to make sure she was okay. I said I wasn’t certain if I was calling the right place and she assured me I had. She explained that because humans were encroaching on their habitat that the Cooper’s were adapting to being around us and sightings were less uncommon. She said some people think it’s cool to see them, others are annoyed. I told her I thought it was unbelievably cool.

Our conversation ended with her thanking me for caring and she said if the Cooper’s wasn’t gone within the hour I should call and they would send someone. She had gone on her way by the time I went back outside.

There’s a bigger story in here somewhere. I just have to mine it….

If it’s not too late I’m sending out another story, then I want to take the rest of the week to really get into the edits for Silver Thorn.

Do your taxes early everyone!

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