Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Hawk

I'm new to this blog stuff. I have no idea what I'm doing -- or even why. But today I've decided to post a story from my life that I wrote up to share with some friends. If anyone is out there and reading this, please let me know if you enjoyed it.

A few years ago I was driving by one of the stores in the chain that I worked for and saw a solid plastic shipping crate belonging to the grocery wholesale company that we bought from.

Well, being the good employee and nosy Parker that I am, I stopped to pick it up. I just assumed the truck door had not closed well and they had not noticed it fell off. So I bent over and picked up the end of the upside-down crate and up pops a huge Red-Tailed Hawk. He was obviously very pissed and also very injured -- one wing was bent and dangling.

It only took a moment to realize that someone from the store had trapped him under there to keep him from wandering into traffic. So I gently scooted the crate further off the roadway and found a big rock to hold it down -- he was bouncing it around pretty violently.

Then I parked and headed inside. The clerk started telling me what was going on before I got through the door.

She had seen him get hit by a car and had run out with the crate to stop him from getting further injured. But she was there alone so she could not leave her customers and register long enough to get him to safety.

Now, I love birds in the sky. Or behind glass. (Or under glass.) Up close, they scare the shit out of me.

Fortunately, my stalwart coworker had actually once worked with a group doing bird of prey rescue. She didn't even ask me to try to get the bird into the crate. Instead she wanted me to run the register while she grabbed a passing teenager and crated up our feathered friend.

Then I got on the phone and called a friend who was an Audubon society officer and he put me in touch with a member of the local BOP rescue group. In about thirty minutes, we had our little, angry buddy on his way to a sanctuary and the veterinary care he needed.

I never did hear if he got well or not. But the guy that I took him to said that since we had gotten to him so quickly and since he was still very alert and active that his chances of survival were very good.

I was saddened later that day when I realized that he was an old friend. My nephew and I spent part of almost every day at a nearby city park. We loved to watch a mated pair of hawks that lived in a wooded area of the park. They would soar gently through the clouds above us and occasionally cry out to one another with their haunting, piercing voices. I found them peaceful and mesmerizing. Watching them was my daily meditation.

That morning I heard a cry and looked up to see only the female making her loop-de-loops over our heads. I suddenly realized that it was her mate that I had helped rescue from the side of the road. I almost cried as I watched her soaring overhead. Was her cry a little sharper? A little frantic? Did I only imagine that it sounded so sad? I wished that I could tell her what had happened and that he was being helped.

The next year she was up there with what I assume was a new mate since the sanctuary was a hundred miles way. But, as I watched them flying above, part of me hoped that it was my old friend, all healed and returned to find his lost love.