The Hawks Are Back

It’s official. Spring is here. I had my first hawk-bomb of the year Sunday morning.

I’ve seen them closer, but this is close enough, thanks.

So there I was…

Ahem, wrong story. Let’s try that again.

Sunday morning, just before sunrise, I was strolling along enjoying the cool morning air and watching the clouds turn colors just above the eastern horizon. The Mississippi kites had been up for a while and were dogfighting with barn swallows, darting and diving across the street ahead of me, then soaring up into the sky. A few circled far above the trees, looking for something or other. Others harassed the grackles in the park. The grackles seemed to be doing more walking than flying, I might add.

Mississippi kites are gregarious, meaning that they tend to travel in groups and hang out together. This is an exception among birds of prey.

The mourning doves didn’t appear all that concerned, although they were not letting their guard down. They are almost the same size as a male kite, so being carried off wasn’t much of a threat, or so the doves I watched seemed to believe. The grackles stalked through the grass and complained to all and sundry about the great unfairness of life. I laughed.

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6 thoughts on “The Hawks Are Back

  1. Interesting. The Mississippi Kite does not seem to be closely related to the Black Kite – Same family but different genus – but both exhibit flocking behavior. Very interesting.

    I have a friend in Western Australia who works with raptors, one of the birds she works with are Black Kites. There is a group of them that “work” for a local raptor sanctuary doing flight displays. If you’re interested: http://www.eaglesheritage.com.au/ ((The pretty “lady” in their facebook avatar is Gracie – a Wedge Tail Eagle with vision problems.))

  2. I love raptors. I took my son to Scarborough Faire outside of Waxahatchie Saturday partly as a birthday present. We always attend the falconry show. One of the things they do is to fly a bird over the heads of the audience. I’ve gone every year for [redacted] years, so I know where to sit. I’ve always tried to get a good picture. This year was the first time I was successful, and I was shooting blind because I couldn’t see the display on my phone due to the sunlight.

    It’s perfect profile of a red tail flying about two feet from my head. I’d share the picture here, but I don’t know if that’s permitted. I’ll write up a trip report on my blog later this week. I also got some good action shots of the falconer demonstrating how they train the birds with a lure. The ironic thing is all the good shots were taken by pointing the phone in the general direction of the what I wanted a picture of because I couldn’t see the display.

    • For a long time I wanted to become a falconer, until I realized just how much work is involved. There are no days off, ever.

      • I got interested in falconry in graduate school, but like you said, there are no days off. I knew I didn’t have the time or cash to pursue it, but I still maintain an interest in it.

      • My father had a close friend who was a falconer. I’d had the same urge, until we’d visited a few times and I realized what a commitment it is.

        He was also involved in a project to restore the prairie falcon, and helped raise birds for eventual release. They’d turned what had been their rear patio into a large free-flight mews, with a smaller deck outside so that visitors could see the birds without disturbing them. Fascinating! But, as you said, never a day off. Fortunately for him, his wife and family were fully on-board for the project.

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