I was walking in the woods at the lake this morning and found a dead red-tailed hawk along the edge of the trees. From what I could tell, it looked like she had been shot. She was still clutching a small branch that I imagine broke off as she fell. I said a few words and covered her with some leaves and sticks so she will be out of sight of humans, but can peacefully become food for others and part of the earth. I think about all of the red-tails I have come into contact over the years, the joy of watching them fly, and the thoughtfulness of their eyes. Rest in peace.
Yesterday, I saw a beautiful Northern Harrier flying in the snow at the Wakarusa Wetlands. This morning, she was there again, this time sitting about twenty feet away as I came down a path. I have never been so privileged to get that close of a look before. It was magical. Click on pictures to enlarge.
I went to the lake this morning before the sun came up. It was chilly, but really nice to be the only human most of the time. The best part was getting a front row seat to this beautiful red-tailed hawk as she took a bath in the lake. After the bath, she flew up to a tree nearby and hung out as I walked around the shore. Nice morning! Click on pictures to enlarge.
One of these days when we visit NYC, we will have to make a stop to check out Pale Male’s house on 5th Avenue. In case you have not heard of him, he is a red-tailed hawk who has lived in NYC for just about twenty years. That’s right, a red-tailed hawk thriving in the most urban of urban areas for twenty years—and he is not the only one. I was thinking about him yesterday as I listened to a Bird Note episode about his popularity with not only NYC birders, but New Yorkers in general. It was nice to hear this broadcast after I had been driving around a nearby lake earlier looking at all of the trash left by hunters and thinking, it can’t all be bad news, can it? Despite what we humans throw at them (sometimes, quite literally), wild birds just keep on keeping on. They find a way. I hope that we humans can learn to be better at self-reflection. I hope we can learn to stop and look up, stop and listen, and think about what truly matters. I hope that we can learn to make connections. We can learn that the chickens we eat matter just as much as the wild birds we watch. I hope that we can learn to look at our inconsistencies and truly reflect. We’re not perfect and we do not have to be perfect. We just have to stop and think, reflect, evolve. Imagine a collective reflection. Imagine the kind of change we could make.
Every once in a while, a Cooper’s hawk comes to visit. While I am sure the little birds would not appreciate this humor, we do, in one way or another, feed everyone at our house. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Their beautiful soaring and thoughtful faces are always welcome. Check out the red-tailed hawk nest cam at Cornell for amazing looks at Big Red, Ezra and their three little ones. Click on pictures to enlarge.
After all this rain of late, the Wakarusa Wetlands are indeed wet, and muddy. Some of my favorite walks have been on these chilly spring mornings. Yesterday, it was so foggy when I got there I could not see very far in front of me, so I moved a bit more slowly to make sure I did not surprise any deer or coyotes. Really, I am sure they know I am coming long before I see them, so it is me that gets the surprise. The fog is mysterious, a little scary, and beautiful. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks look very much alike. I’m going to go with Cooper’s on this beauty. She stopped by the yard today to scare off the little birds. Fortunately for the little birds at the feeder, and unfortunately for her, her surprise attack yielded no results. Everyone remained on edge until she left. She flew over to the neighbor’s and watched a bush where cardinals often hang out, but no luck. I felt sorry for her. She looked frustrated and hungry as she took off into the wooded area. Click on pictures to enlarge.
While I haven’t been out as much as I would like, I love seeing the arrival of our wintering friends. Bald eagles from the north are beginning to arrive and the harriers seem to be swooping low over fields everywhere I look. I saw my first group of common goldeneyes last week (there is definitely nothing common about them; they are beautiful). Young deer are looking much more grownup than a few months ago. Click on pictures to enlarge.