Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Sad Story, but with an Uplifting Twist

I have no photographs to go with this story, it just didn't seem appropriate to take any.

I held a Broadwing Hawk in my hands on Sunday, it felt so rewarding to see such a beautiful creature up close, the talons, the beak, the eyes, but the eyes were cloudy, and I could not enjoy it. This poor creature was not alive, it had been hit by a car. It's remarkable how many raptors we find just around our neighborhood who've met an untimely end on the road. Mammals we expect, but raptors? Their habit of flying low as an element of surprise as they hunt road embankments probably accounts for this peculiar mortality.

I realize this may sound strange, and it's not for everyone, but Jeff and I try to retrieve some of the animals and birds we find that have been hit before they become, well, how do I put this...too gross. Even though the spirit has left we still respect the body and we try to give it a proper place of semi burial up in our woods, as if it died of natural causes and came to rest upon the forest floor. It will still be subject to scavengers, but that's natural, getting run over by automobiles is not.

Well, so there I was Sunday afternoon, I had just arrived at Dean to find a place up in the woods for the Broadwing I just picked up. I was standing in the driveway, holding the hawk, and looking up into the woods for a path without to much poison ivy. As soon as Jeff came around through the gate, two Broadwings swooped overhead and called out. My eyes instantly welled up and goosebumps ran up my arms. What a magical moment. Broadwings have been regular visitors, even residents with nests at Dean for many years, so seeing them alone wasn't special but the timing was. Were they thanking us, saying goodbye to a fallen comrade? It doesn't matter, maybe we're a little flaky. It felt special.

So that's it.

Well almost, we had another strange incident last night. We were sitting at the dinner table, we'd finished eating and were enjoying the perfect weather. I think we were talking about birds, what we'd seen and not seen, and Jeff mentioned how odd it was that we hadn't seen nearly as many Kestrels this year as in previous years. Not a minute later, through our screen door we heard and saw two Kestrels call out as they flew over our back yard. What's up with that!? Coincidence? It doesn't matter, it was cool anyway you look at it.

Thanks for reading.


  1. My comment was regarding kestrels anywhere at anytime. I could not tell you the last time a kestrel was seen from our yard!

  2. Indeed a sad story, but thank you for giving him dignity in death.

  3. It's so sad to see any animal killed on the road. I read recently that the decline of the Red Headed Woodpecker is partly due from being hit by cars as they like to swoop low from tree to tree in their savannah habitat.