My husband noticed the hawk first. The loud squawking had been in the background as we enjoyed a relaxing conversation outside. He explained that she was trying to teach her babies to leave the nest and fly.
I started to pay attention. She was standing in the grass next to our driveway looking up and screaming. Suddenly she regurgitated three different pieces of food onto the grass. She was definitely trying to lure her babies out of the trees. Twenty minutes later she was still yelling at them. We finally saw two smaller birds with the same, although much fainter, call. One landed on the fence while the other simply swooped around. Flight!
Her calls continued to dominate the sounds in our neighborhood all day. I kept thinking how exhausted she must be to continue to call and train for all those hours. Part of the guidance was most certainly on how to hunt. Finding food is essential when you leave the nest.
Parenting takes a tremendous amount of energy.
At the same time my husband and I were in full parenting mode as we guided our sons to pack for a week of Boy Scout camp. The extensive list for the sleep-away excursion is a miner task compared to helping one of our sons cook all of his meals for the week. With his food allergies he has to prepare all the food in advance. I felt like we spent the entire day in conversation with both sons on what to bring and how to pack it. With scouting, you can only guide, they must do the tasks.
Meanwhile I continued to hear the hawk outside fulfilling her parental duties. I thought, “We’re no different than the hawk!” We were spending a great deal of time preparing our offspring to be self-sufficient too.
My friend Ruth Hanessian of the Animal Exchange helped me identify the hawk. We believe she is a Red Shouldered Hawk, especially after listening to her call. Thanks to her for encouraging me to write this piece after hearing my story