Friday, May 31, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

The Smooth Hawk

Special thanks to our friend Chandel for sharing her amazing photos and experiences with wildlife in the greater San Diego California area.

A couple days ago I was at Lake Cuyamaca.  I was on a mini vacation from work and I always drive up to the mountains when I have time off.  I was walking around the east side of the lake looking for the new Canada goslings that I had seen a couple days earlier.

No luck this day seeing them, but that’s OK.  It was rather windy and cold and I’m sure mom and dad had them tucked away nice and warm.  As I was walking back to the trail I saw a hawk fly from a tree and right into a “fence”  This fence is really chicken wire strung against some  poles, mainly to keep people out of the marsh area.  I was several hundred feet away, but the hawk just stood there, almost like he was stunned.  I went into mother hen mode and  started thinking to myself,  OK I’m only two and half miles from my car. I can carry him and drive to the ranger station and if they can’t help him, I’ll take him to the animal rescue.”  I was about ten feet from him when, thankfully, he flew to a neighboring oak tree.  He tucked himself away amongst the leaves which made photographing him difficult, but I managed an OK one.

When I turned back to the fence where he had “crashed,"  I couldn’t help but laugh. I understood his zeal and his excitement (and perhaps why he was so excited and flew into the fence).

I think these brave little squirrels were almost taunting him.  The more I examined this hawk I believe him to be a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk.  Perhaps that’s why his hunting skills were not so great?  after a few moments, Mr. Hawk flew back to the area where the squirrels were and the only sight I had of him was this:


This makeshift dam is nearly at ground level and this hawk was just walking around and every so often his head would pop up like this. I was probably only five feet away, but he did not seem fazed at all and then he was kind enough to pose for a photo:

It was really cool to be so close to him and look directly in him eyes and get an up close view of his feathers, beak and talons.  Shortly after this photo was taken he flew away.  I think I was cramping his style.

While I really wish hawks and other raptors ate seeds instead of meat, I cannot help but love and admire them.  I usually just stand back in awe regardless how many times I’ve seen them.  They are so regal.  So majestic…even when they’re running into a fence.