Dark spots clumped together in the distant sky.
The young bird came in a box. Someone found it, assumed it was abandoned, grabbed it and brought it to me. I was in sixth grade but had gained a reputation for being a person capable of caring for baby animals, especially birds.
The dots swirled in a graceful but haphazard movement.
At the time, the bird was called a “hawk”. Two decades later, American ornithologists finally recognized that a bird in the hawk family should not be called a “hawk” because hawks and hawks are truly different biologically; they renamed it “American Kestrel”.
The number of points increased and what had been a cluster has become a small cloud.
I fed him, gave him water, sheltered him at night and within weeks I set him free to fend for himself, an action his real parents would have done.
The random movement slowly but evenly transformed into an elegant spiral.
Such encounters fueled my interest in wildlife and encouraged me to want to know them. What is living there? Where do they live? How do they live? How are they the same? How are they different? What should I do to find them?
The already small spots narrowed even more as their spiral gently lifted them.
I bought my own bird books and borrowed all the books from the library written by John Burroughs, Edwin Way Teale and Rachel Carson. In college, I heard about Maurice Broun’s book, “Hawks Aloft”. I read it all the way through, started reading another book, then a second book, but stopped reading both to learn more about hawks.
The spots reached an elevation that suited them and the higher birds left.
âHawks Aloftâ explained the cultural tradition of shooting hawks as a recreational hobby activity. And Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania has become famous as the place to draw the line and say, âNo more slaughter! shut down this indefensible culture.
Like clouds, the spots slowly moved south, overlapping the air like surfers riding a wave.
I had been to Baja before to engage migrating gray whales and had visited the San Luis Valley several times to witness the sandhill crane migration. Now, as I read about the extraordinary falcon migrations, a new spiritual direction has started to reorient the course of my life.
As they got closer, the spots turned first into birds and then hawks.
As some people travel the world to see museums and palaces, towers and bridges, vast cities and sports grounds, I have taken on the desire to see wildlife, life on Earth and the sights that take place. produce in their quest for survival.
They were mainly gliding hawks with only a few hawks and no eagles.
And so, I made plans with a friend. Two weeks ago, leaving at 3:30 a.m., we drove 5 p.m. to Corpus Christi, Texas where large numbers of hawks pass by as they migrate south to overwinter in South America. .
Gradually but steadily, the hawks approached.
The next day we got up early and went to Hazel Bazemore County Park and stood on the hawk watch platform. Professional counters were there and counted each swarm of hawks.
Within minutes, a single swarm of 7,460 broad-winged falcons passed.
I didn’t go there to see the hawks; I went to watch the show. And the hawks rewarded my efforts by making me a much richer man.