Sunday, July 1, 2007

Encounter with Redtail Hawks

I have spent just about my entire weekend sitting on my screened in porch watching a family of redtailed hawks in the trees in my back yard. I am totally fascinated by birds of prey and I love watching these incredible birds. I have known for some time that there was one hawk that stayed in the trees in the back yard, but I didn't realize there were more. I came home one day at lunch and saw this beautiful bird sitting in the leaves right down below my screened in porch in the yard. He was sitting there in the leaves, fluttering his wings back and forth in a frenzy manner. I was so shocked that I screamed out when I saw him. It frightened him/her (I can't recognize their gender on sight yet) that he flew up into the trees carrying a baby armadillo in his talons. Oh my goodness was I shocked. Ever since this, I have been watching for him and hearing his screeching call out in the trees each day. On Saturday morning, I was sitting in my wicker rocker looking out over the woods and all of a sudden a big dark shadow appeared across the yard and the hawk flew right up on the roof above the porch. Again, I was startled, but I stayed calm and quiet this time. He sat on my roof and would poke his head over the roof edge and look in the screen at me. How exciting to see him eye to eye. It was almost like he was trying to connect and make friends with me (or maybe he wanted to eat my cats who were having a fit on the porch that he was up there)! When he flew off up into the tall pine trees that are about 100 yards from the porch, I noticed another hawk sitting in the tree. This captured me that there was more than one and I began my quest watching them the rest of the weekend. Finally, I've figured it out. There is a male and female and then I saw two more smaller hawks that must be their babies. At one point I had all four sitting just a short distance from me in the tree watching me watch them. Wow what an experience! I think the parent birds were trying to teach the young ones to hunt. We have many squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits out in the back wooded area. The young birds are still sort of clumsy. They will try to fly from one branch to another and sometimes they miss on the landing and have to scramble and fly to another branch. The hunting doesn't seem to be going real well either. This afternoon I saw the two young birds each sitting in different trees watching a squirrel on a tree in between them. At the exact same time, they each flew off aiming for the squirrel and almost collided. The squirrel survived and ran frantically down the tree. There is much screeching by all of the birds as the parents seem to be calling to the young ones. We had quite a thunderstorm this afternoon, but they all stayed out in the tall pine tree under the branches during the rain. Once the rain ended, they all began soaring through the trees again. I've tried to get Andy to come out and watch them with me. He isn't too interested. He truly is not a bird lover like I am. Anyway, I truly appreciate these magnificent creatures that God created and I thank Him for sending them to live in my back yard. I really needed this diversion this weekend to take my mind off of some of my problems. Thank you Lord.

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