Saturday, February 14, 2015

Attacking Hawk Mystery Solved

Would there be a happy ending for our Sparrow Hawk visitor?

(Part 2 of 2)
(Part 1, the beginning)

Operating on the information given to us by the Fish and Wildlife agent, we set out to find a possible nest that the hawk(s) were possibly protecting.  Armed with an umbrella I bravely headed out to investigate the abandoned horse trailer in the pasture.

Of course, no sooner had I come within the "attack perimeter" than the hawk made an appearance.  He flew straight at me from the nearby tree.  Now, this bird is not that big, but I have to say, it's rather unnerving to see a bird of prey, no matter how small, making a bee line for your head.

I ducked, of course, and covered my head with the umbrella.  The hawk popped it with it's claws, then flew away and landed on the nearby fence, staring at me intently.  Gathering himself (or herself), he/she launched another attack with eyes looking straight into mine.  It attacked again and again with the same relentless intensity.  Abandoning my search, I scrambled back to safety, flapping my umbrella as I ran. This bird was possessed.

 I had managed to get a peek into the trailer and saw no evidence of a nest.  We watched the hawk for several days, trying to see if we could locate a nesting area.  Nothing looked promising and there were continued attacks. Everyday. To everybody.   It was beginning to look like there was going to be a bad ending for the hawk visitor. The prevailing answer to the problem was "You're going to have to shoot it".  Not cool.

Hawk Mystery Solved

As luck would have it, someone suggested the hawk might be an escaped "trained" falcon.  That could explain the bird's behavior.  It was just trying to land on a human, any human, to be fed.  Calls were made, emails were sent out and, as it turns out, there was a falconer nearby who had lost her bird sometime ago.  She volunteered to come by and check  if this hawk was hers.

The lady falconer, with my neighbor bravely assisting her, stood in the area where the bird always attacked. It didn't take very long for the hawk to show up.  Following the falconer's instructions, my neighbor held out her arm invitingly.  He landed on her head, of course!  But, she held her composure and the hawk was captured.

It wasn't the falconer's long-lost falcon, unfortunately.  Apparently, Sparrow hawk's don't live that long in the wild, so it was a long shot anyway.  But, she told us it was a female and that she would take it home with her.  That was the best plan for the hawk, since she was not suited now to be on her on in the wild and would live longer in captivity.

So, the beautiful Sparrow hawk's behavior was explained.  She was not attacking, but simply trying to join back up with a human, as she was trained to do, nothing more.  She let us touch her and pick her up as tamely as could be.  The old gentleman, who had been attacked repeatedly for days, took one feather as a reminder of her. He's probably missing  her now on his trips to the mail box.

Farm Resources

Organic liquid fertilizer for pastures
VermaPlex® in Spring 
It's almost Spring -
Time to apply VermaPlex®
to the pasture.