99 Words...and a little bit more
The animals don’t usually stick around too long; but the hawks will perch on a tree limb, a fence post, or float on the wind for ages, dipping and diving with the air current. All are perfect vantage points for them to hunt from.
Recently, a hawk watched me driving straight towards it while it sat nonchalantly in the middle of the road. It was not the first time I had come across a fledgling looking like it didn’t know what it was supposed to be doing.
I slowed to a stop, pulling off the road as far as I could. It didn’t move, other than swivelling its head to check out the lay of the land. I stayed inside my vehicle, taking pictures through the dust-covered windshield. Thinking I might get a better shot if I rolled down the window, I was quickly disappointed because the line of fire was wrong.
While I kept an eye on the fledgling, I could hear an adult hawk screeching overhead. Words of encouragement, perhaps; however, true to any youngster’s mindset, the fledgling ignored the cries.
My attention took me to a dust tail behind a truck approaching, not slowing. I hoped they would either see the bird or the bird would take to its wings to get the heck out of the way of a certain death.
One last swivel of the head, a hop, and a valiant attempt to lift off. One wing dipped back down to the ground and it settled back on the ground. Another hop, a little higher this time, both wings flapped in unison, taking the young hawk on a low passage over the ditch and over the barbed wire fence. It wobbled again, clipped a willow bush, and disappeared. Did it take flight to continue sailing over the valley? Did it make a crash landing behind the stand of wolf willows? I cannot answer either of those questions with certainty.
When the dust settled from the oncoming vehicle, and my attention strayed from the fledgling, I opened the sunroof to video the adult screeching, swooping and soaring in the blue sky above me.
All in all, another great day of gravel travel.