Red-tailed Hawk Chicks

moon phase Week of 05/29/2005 Favorable days to plant root crops.

Dear Readers,

Red-tailed Hawk Chicks

Before I explain what I've seen on this fine May day, I want to tell you about what happened one day early this past March.

The afternoon was bright and sunny and full of the soothing songs of birds. Though the temperature only reached 40 degrees, the sun made if feel much warmer. I was enjoying the peace and quiet while getting to what I love most - being creative at my drawing table. I was relaxed and into my work, until I was startled by the whine of a chainsaw across the road from the house.

The neighbor had been logging the larger trees on his property for a couple of weeks, and now the saw was across the road from me. I was hoping they wouldn't cut the trees that I enjoyed most, but deep down I was resigned to the fact that they probably would. I don't mind logging, as long as it's done with respect for the land. However, there was a single large oak tree towards the top of the ridge, right across from my house, that was very special indeed. High up in the branches was a large stick nest, built by a pair of Red-tailed hawks. Each spring, the mated pair builds onto the nest, and raises their young in it. This would be the sixth year the hawks have raised a family in that nest, and each spring I look forward to watching them.

As I sat listening to the chainsaw, I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency. I grabbed my coat and hat, then on a 9x12 piece of paper, I wrote the following note in bold black letters:

"Please don't cut down our home. Our nest is in the branches of this tree! Thank you!
(signed) Mr. & Mrs. Red-tailed Hawk."

In no time I was climbing up the snow covered ridge. I made my way to the nest tree and tacked the sign right where the saw would make its first cut.

By this time the logger was dropping trees only 150 feet away. I figured the note from the hawks said it all, so I followed my tracks back to the house. If I had stayed another half hour or so, I could have seen what happened, but I didn't want to face the disappointment if the tree was not spared. Instead, I decided to visit a friend, and to look for the tree site in the morning.

Long after dark, when the chainsaw had been silent for hours, I could not keep my mind off the tree. I tossed and turned all night, my head full of the buzzing of the blades, the crashing of branches, and the heavy thud as the tree toppled to earth. I tried to turn my fears to positive thoughts, and finally got a bit of sleep.

I went out to search for the tree as soon as it was light enough to see across the valley. My heart jumped for joy at the sight of the tree, still standing, with the hawks' nest still in place. In fact, a couple of large trees near the nest tree were also spared. It renewed my faith in fellow humans to see that they had spared this special tree.

Almost three months later, it's the week of "leaf out," and the branches on the nest tree are covered with small, light green oak leaves. The big stick nest of the hawk pair contains two 10 day old, downy chicks. they are big enough already to spend a little time alone while their mother flies off for some exercise, and to help her mate find the chicks some food. The young hawks will stay in the nest until they are full grown, around the middle of June. When their flight feathers have all grown in, they will set off to wherever they choose to go.

Observing baby hawks in my neighborhood for the sixth straight year, I am again relieved that Mr. and Mrs. Red Tailed Hawk were spared by a simple sign. As long as there are compassionate people in the world, there is hope for harmony for nature and humans alike.

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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