Nature in Flight

I very recently returned to taking daily walks again, and shame on me once more, for dropping it over a year ago! On my walk yesterday morning I noticed a large dark chocolate color hawk sitting on someone’s backyard chain link fence. He was a beauty. He had a bit of a lighter brown spread across his thick chest. I was afraid if I took my phone out to take a picture, this hawk might think I was pointing with something else and I did not want to interrupt his morning coffee break or my chance of pleasure. Once I got home I looked through the web for hawks in southeastern Arizona and did not find one exactly like this fellow. A Harris hawk came the closest, but still not the same markings.

Neighborhood hawks have been common for years in our area, swooping in to wait and watch for one of the hundreds of Mourning or White-winged dove. These predators are either a Sharp-skinned hawk or Cooper’s hawk or perhaps both, their identity very similar.  At times one will park on the side of my birdbath, take his dip, then fly back to a branch to wait. Such stern patience.

When my cats were smaller, I felt one of these hawks could easily carry my little friend off, and if I spotted a landing, rushed to the kitty to bring it inside, pointing and repeating “bad bird!” My cats have always been indoors, but I  allow them out only when I am with them and then tote under each arm to bring back inside against their exploratory wishes.  

The years we boated on Apache Lake, Red Tail hawks flew over the water like a glimmering thread, pulling their wings into the side and then out, coasting for miles. While we anchored and soaked in the sun or cast a line, their flight path were like spools unwinding, over and over, circles drifting wider and broader. Always as our eyes floated with their pattern, their soaring would take us by a nest of a Bald Eagle high up on a rocky cliff. We let the Red Tail depart, our eyes fixed on the nest with our binoculars.

I am not a professional bird watcher by any means, but like a living being, each has their personality and their reasons by design in doing things their way. Whether I walk our local River Path where coyotes, rattlesnakes, javelina, and various hawks roam, or through my backyard, both are notably full of nature. And when I walk with my cats, we can be surprised at different times of the day by what may be visiting.