Is He Hurt?

June 25, 2012

Fearless and proud.

But so vulnerable.

He lay in my backyard as I watered the parched grass. And he wouldn’t budge. Even as I walked within a few feet of him. It was a yard that was home to our dog as well. Older yellow labs aren’t know for their ferocity.  But still. A dog. And me. And a big bird just sitting in my yard.

Had he been poisoned? Or hit with a pellet gun? He seemed alert, but I couldn’t tell if he were hurt.

Seeing an immobile, proud, big bird reminded me of another time – years ago, when I was covering  the Exxon Valdez oil spill as a TV news producer. In trying to assess the environmental damage done and what lasting effects would be felt by nature and the humans who lived close to nature over the following decades, I spoke with a veterinarian in Anchorage.

There wasn’t much the birds could do if they scooped up salmon or other fish that were oil soaked, he told me. Unfortunately.

But this was one bald eagle who had a chance, and was being nursed painstakingly back to health. What a wonderful moment for me. To hold a (sedated) but alert bald eagle.

So I wondered if the red tailed hawk in my backyard were ill, and if he were, who I would call.

He sat there for at least a half hour. Alert, but not moving.

Finally I sprayed him gently with water from the hose I held as I watered my lawn and garden.

And he still sat.

Then I yelled at him. And he sat some more. He was one of four hawks. Two of them were hatched last year. The neighborhood was so excited when all four returned this spring. But now one was sitting helplessly in the grass. At least, that was what I projected onto him.

Because finally, for reasons only he knows… he stood up, and flapped his powerful wings for the short flight to the fence.

And then opened them up to dry from the impromptu shower I gave him.

And there he stayed. Until he saw something worth chasing.

And off he went. Where he wanted. When he wanted



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie June 26, 2012

what a story! Having just visited and observed the family of hawks in your neighborhood, I was so sad to hear one might have been hurt. But no, he’s in great shape and remember a visit from a hawk means increased awareness is around you. It is a truly good omen. I’m happy the beautiful bird is okay. thanks for the great pictures!

Laura Lippstone May 23, 2013

Great post and great blog, Alex. Really enjoy your writing.

viewser May 23, 2013

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, Laura. Great to hear from you!

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