Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hawk in Suburbia

Hawk in Suburbia

I am used to seeing hawks off in the distance, wings spread, floating on the air currents beyond the height of our neighborhood trees. There is a grace to their flying, so smooth that it almost seems they aren’t flying at all.

Occasionally a hawk will come closer, just above our backyard trees. No doubt it is scoping out the movements on our bird feeders. Most of the time the birds are savvy and disappear when the hawk is around, though not always. I have found splashes of feathers on the lawn, usually from a mourning dove that didn’t move off fast enough. And we have enough squirrels and chipmunks to satisfy the hungriest hawk.

This week I was surprised, however, to find a hawk right in our backyard, sitting in the maple tree near our patio. It wasn’t the kind of place I would expect a hawk to be. It was high for people but not typical hawk height. And it was close to an inhabited site. The bird sat on a lower branch, another unusual activity. It seemed to be aware of every move we made near our back storm door but it wasn’t inclined to leave. Eventually, it took off across our yard to places unknown.

I admit I was shaken. It is one thing to see such a creature in the distance and quite another to have it within whistling distance, which I couldn’t help doing. Was it getting used to us? Not necessarily a good thing. Our living needs are obviously different. Can we live together in peace? As people take up more land space from the natural inhabitants the question becomes urgent. I hope we can do a better job of co-existing with the hawks than we often do with people who have divergent lifestyles.

A common bird in America:


  1. It is wonderful to see these creatures so close; the other day we saw an owl in one of our trees. It was very exciting. The downside, as you said, is that our "needs" are encroaching on theirs in so many areas of the world and they aren't in a position to stop us.

  2. An owl - how exciting! We have been hearing bird calls that I haven't been able to identify yet.