Posted 03-04-2005 at 19:42:53
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There is something incredibly romantic and beautiful about an adult hawk. I never fail to stop what I'm doing and give them my full undivided attention when I chance to see one, and if I happen to get a nice long look, it's a good day. So imagine my delight when one dropped practically into my lap this evening.
I was driving down the dirt road that leads back to the house when I spotted this hawk snuggled down into some weeds at the edge of the ditch. Clearly this was not normal behavior, but I continued slowly on my way, leaving him to his business. When I went out again after dark a full two hours later and he was in the same spot, my fears were confirmed. This beautiful animal was in trouble.
I know hawks can be formidable and even dangerous, so I did what any normal red-blooded female will do when faced with a tricky situation; I called my wild-hog hunting, snake handling, wandering the woods in the dark type, scared of nuthin’ teenaged son on his cell phone.
“Jake, ya gotta come catch this hawk for me.”
“Well, there’s this hawk, he’s just sitting here on the side of the road. I think he’s hurt. I can’t just leave him here, if a dog comes along...”
“Mom. Are you saying HAWK?”
“Yes, son! Hawk! H…A…W…K…hawk! You know, big bird, mottled color, I’m-gonna-get-that-chicken, type hawk.”
“And you want me to catch it.” I could hear the grin in his voice.
“Do you have any idea what you’re asking me to do?”
“I sure do. Now, listen, if you can go running around the woods in the dark chasing after two hundred pound wild hogs, you can handle a little old bird.”
“Mom, that thing will rip me to pieces. It’s what they do. Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m not interested...and don’t you go messing with it either. Promise me!”
“Do you know what you’re asking ME to do?” I demanded.
“I said promise me.”
“Uh huh.” I said, noncommittally, and hung up. But I did leave it alone...for the moment.
I went back to the house, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this magnificent bird lying there; easy prey for any predator that should happen along. I told my youngest daughter, Jenny, and she commiserated.
“Well, let’s go get him.” She said with conviction.
Back down the road we went, to where I had last seen the bird. It took several minutes to get the Jeep angled in toward the ditch just right so that we could work in the glow of the headlights. Once we were in position and standing there looking down on our unfortunate friend, I lost my nerve again.
“Okay, there he is. Get him.” I said to Jenny.
“Do I look like I’m stupid? I’m not touching that thing!” The whites of her eyes stood out in stark contrast against the darkness.
“Well what did we come all the way back down here for?”
“I thought you were going to catch him! And you have to Mama, look at him, poor thing. We can’t leave him here like this.”
“Oh, all right!”
I just happened to have a blanket and a laundry basket in the back of the Jeep. I took the blanket and folded it in half and then in half again. I figured I had to move fast, and I was right. As I approached, the hawk rose up to his full height, fluffed up his feathers to look more intimidating, cocked his head to the side in utter outrage, and opened his big old sharp beak ready to do battle. He had time for one good, dirty look, before the blanket settled down over him. I scooped him up, blanket and all and deposited him in the laundry basket. Once I had him home, I transferred him carefully to an old rabbit cage. He’s sitting there now, in the kitchen floor, watching me type this, and looking royally pizzed off, but I know I won’t have to worry about him through the long night, and in the morning I’ll call the Hawk People, whoever they may be and arrange to get him into better hands than mine. He’s sitting on a bit of an angle so I’m thinking he has a broken leg, which is enough to pizz anybody off, but hopefully he’ll mend and go back to doing whatever it is that hawks do, and if I’m lucky I’ll see him again, and if I get a good long look...it’ll be a good day.