Hawk Central, Part 2…and Part 3

Two nights ago, I posted here about this great double-sighting of a pair of Red-Tailed Hawks that had been perched in one of the trees above my back patio.  As I said then, one flew away toward the north, and then the second one took off on a vector heading east.  It may have taken up residence in another, more distant tree farther off in that direction, but it also may have sailed on past that tree and beyond — the tree in question stands just where my lines of sight get cut off by a busy stand of other flora, so I wasn’t sure.  But either way, these formidable airborne warriors almost never drift over this far from Griffith Park, so this was a momentous sighting for me.

And the hits have kept on coming since then, too!

First, I enjoyed another such close encounter yesterday morning.  I took up archery a few months ago over in Pasadena, and the group meets on Saturday mornings.  I was walking out of the session around noon with a married couple who joined up around the same time that I did, and this great Red-Tailed Hawk came slicing in from somewhere behind us, whipped on past maybe 25 feet beyond my left shoulder, and only 15 or so feet above the ground.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen a bird of prey flying that low, other than the occasional money shot of one diving at some doomed little varmint or other in nature footage.  This one seemed to be making a purposeful stoop just so as to say hello to us!  After it went whistling past, it banked to our right, and then took up a position in one of the local trees.  I snapped a quick photo with my phone, and the whole moment was dramatic enough that so did the other people nearby.  Here’s mine:

Apologies for the grainy quality of this shot, but hopefully you can at least make out my new Red-Tailed friend...
Apologies for the grainy quality of this shot, but hopefully you can at least make out my new Red-Tailed friend…

It was the nearness of the bird as it flew past that seemed so remarkable.  I counted myself lucky to have been so close that I could hear the wind whispering through its feathers…and then I went on with my day, assuming that if luck decided to join forces with me some other time, I might once again experience something like that.

And I did — today!

I climbed up onto my roof around sunset, as I often like to do, and while my neighborhood was still basking in that magical, crepuscular window of time we call dusk, a large shape appeared from out of the tree-line that stretches away to the south, and began winging its way toward me.  I gave out a silent cheer in my head, and I watched the dashing silhouette approach, growing larger and larger, and larger still.  At that hour, it could have been an outsized Raven or Hawk heading home for bed, or an industrious Owl rising for the night-shift…and as it neared my position, I could see that its head was too small for it to have been an Owl.  As it drew even closer, I was able to see that — like the visitors above my patio two days earlier — it had brown and white coloring rather than black, so…not a Raven.  It was another Hawk.

And then it passed by me, even closer to me than the Hawk in Pasadena had flown the day before!  This one cut through the air no more than maybe 15 feet from where I was standing all gape-mouthed and goggle-eyed, again all super-delighted by that faint sound of air kissing feathers…  And after giving me that bit of thrill, it seemed to head straight for the exact same semi-distant tree that I’d thought the other Hawk had landed in at the end of the double-sighting that had started all of this two days earlier.  In the fading light, it wasn’t absolutely clear, but if pressed, I’d have guessed that both Hawks had, after all, landed in that same tree.  I drew the sketchy and unsupported (but hopeful) conclusion that maybe we now have a mated pair nesting in that tree.  If so, I may have plenty more such sightings making me all giddy in the days and weeks to come!  No photos of today’s encounter, I’m sorry to say — too little time to bust out the phone — but I promise more if I can get some.

And what about the rest of you?  Have you been looking to the skies?  And if so…what have you seen…?

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