A family of marsh hawks AKA harriers moved into a park where I go walking in the mornings. As the hawks multiplied over the past few years, the number of rabbits, mice, squirrels, and small birds decreased, and I have not seen any possums, either. Granted, the foxes might get some credit, but still. It’s fun to watch the hawks warming up in the mornings.
So there I was, walking along, thinking about world history and watching the hawks and other birds, and admiring the wispy pink and gold sunrise, and being grateful that insect repellant works. There was a little south wind, and I was southbound along the sidewalk, in a gap between the trees. A number of the park trees succumbed to old age and drought the past four years, and so there are some holes in the park’s outline of elms.
I’m rocking along, aware of what’s up but not hyper vigilant. And shwoosh! Something brushes the top of my head and by bangs, then sails ahead before sweeping up into a curving climb. Too surprised to do more than stare, I watched the young harrier fly up and land in the top of a tree in the middle of the park.
I’ve been followed by the harriers before. And I’ve had them cut across my path, usually in hot pursuit of a dove or other breakfast species. But I’ve never been grazed. It’s usually the Mississippi Kites and mockingbirds that attack people, not harriers.
I suspect this one was just curious, since the talons didn’t rake me, and he didn’t make a second pass. But it certainly livened up the morning!