Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Hawk Story

A few weeks ago, on our way home from the creek we found this baby hawk sitting in the middle of the gravel road. Mark had a plastic bin in the back of his truck so he emptied it out and put this hawk in and brought it home. It seemed that maybe one of his wings was a little injured and we didn't want it to be left on the road. We also thought that maybe he might have left the nest a little too early and wasn't strong enough to fly away.

Don't let the look on Clark's face fool you. Look at those talons. Clark is acting like it didn't hurt. It hurt! Clark named him Mordecai. It is a Hebrew name meaning, little man. Good choice.

Brad wanted a turn to hold it too. It's not everyday you get to hold a hawk.

Whenever we put it in the tree it would sit for awhile then try to take off but he always ended up on the ground. Just wasn't quite strong enough.

Every few days Mark worked with him. He put a tether on one of Mordecai's' legs to give it exercise, knowing it wasn't strong enough to really go anywhere. Mordecai always ended up in a bush or a low branch. Out here in the middle of nowhere we have foxes and coyotes so we wanted to make sure Mordecai could fly when he needed to.

Mark would whistle at Mordecai and sometimes Mordecai would whistle back.

My foot.

See? He is headed for the bushes.

We kept Mordecai in Rio's old dog cage. Mark would faithfully give it water from my turkey baster( I know, super gross) and meat from leftovers. Look at Rio with his tongue hanging out.

After a few days of our food Mark went out and shot a gopher. You
should have seen Mordecai grab onto that gopher. He acted like he knew what he was doing. Animals are so instinctive. You forget sometimes.

After almost three weeks and three gophers we decided it was time to let Mordecai go. He had started getting really antsy in the cage and more vocal.

There he goes........

And here he sits, in our backyard, in a tree right over our fire pit. There are two hawks, a male and a female, that have nested right next to us and they did not like Mordecai at all. They had a baby that they were teaching to fly so they were very vocal and protective. They have settled down now. Mordecai has a unique cry so we can here him in the mornings. Really. Honest. This morning when I was in the kitchen I heard him so Mark went out to the field behind us and saw him. He seems to hang around "home". These hawks are territorial and have one mate for life. They also migrate from here in the winter to South America and other far off warm places and then head back home in the spring. Mordecai has a red tie on his one leg so we will be able to recognize him forever and always.
More about the Swainson's Hawk.


Marilou said...

That is a happy/sad post. I loved it though. I'd say that Mark is a Hawk Whisperer!

Kaylynn said...

I love the hawk story. I will have to come over sometime and meet Mordecai.

Dixie Dee said...

Great Hawk story! It will be fun to look for Mordecai every year. I hope he comes back for many years.

L&M betterfam said...

Great job with the Hawk. Looks like he's doing well!!

Michelle Joyce said...


Brian said...

Owls, hawks, and eagles are fascinating birds. It is great that you have had such an amazing encounter with one.

Anonymous said...

I really do hope it wasn't cooked meat you fed him on, before giving him the gopher (it looks cooked in the photos, either that, or old and dried). You should've contacted with a local falconer or a wildlife rescue center when you found the bird. You cannot release back to the wild a bird that thinks that the food comes from a human. Such a bird will have a very short life in the wild. 3 weeks is more than enough to imprint a hawk chick onto humans, that's why he started to get noisy, he was calling for food, thinking you were his parent.

Best regards.
a falconer