Hawk Talk


Over the past few days my late afternoons have been disturbed by a hawk. A strange admission, given that I live in a congested urban environment. At about the same time each day, as I sit at my computer or stand in my studio, a sharp cry erupts from the cedars outside my window. It is shrill and urgent and unavoidable, but even when I move quickly to the window, the bird is gone before I catch a glimpse. There seem to be two hawks in residence this season, and both are quite active in the backyard. Based on my observations and research at the Cornell Ornithology website, I'm betting that they make up a Red-tailed pair. During the cold months, the forest of bamboo that borders one side of our property is home to a flock of migratory robins. We joke that they are our commuter robins, foraging in local parks during the day and traveling home to rest here at night. It is their misfortune to provide a convenient buffet for the hawks. And though we would love to protect them, we understand  that this is the cycle of nature. The hawks are magnificent as they swoop past our porch, but the circle of feathers they leave behind after eating is less welcome. As the cries start up again, I decide to sneak outside. Dusk is falling and the robins are starting to roost in their helter skelter way. As I round the corner I startle a hawk that leaps into the air, but a second one drops onto the path a few feet in front of me and unfurls its wings in a threatening gesture. I am the interloper here. It seems that my activities are disturbing the hawks.