Exercising a hawk

Found the dear

Monday after shooting at St. Mary’s Reservoir for part of the afternoon I came back to the studio to download some images and do some edits.  I had supper and thought it would be fun to head to Helen Schuler Nature Center to photograph some of the deer that hang around there and their velvet antlers. I got to the river bottom and started my search. After about ten minutes I found the deer and started to get into position.  As I was getting set-up I heard a hawk call from a long ways away.  I got a few images of the deer and noticed that the hawk was still calling.

Deer with velvet antlers
Not sure what happened to this guys antler.

Hello Mr Hawk

I could not get the lighting that I wanted for the deer so I decided that I would walk around to get to the other side of them.  As I started walking I still could hear the hawk calling from down by highway 3 and some other hawks responding closer to the Nature center. I thought that I would join in so I did my hawk call and within a few seconds the hawk from down by the highway comes looking for me.  He, or she, circled overhead for a minute and then when I said hello he came down and landed on a tree next to me.

Hawk checking me out.
Hawk checking me out.

I continued to talk to the hawk while he checked me out then he started to do the hawk call.  It seemed like he wanted to tell me something and was very insistent that he tell me. 

Getting the entire story from the hawk.
Getting the entire story from the hawk.

Let’s go for a walk

After a couple minutes of talking to him I decided that I would move on.  As soon as I started to move he also moved flying above the trees and heading back to towards highway 3.  I stopped a couple times briefly looking for my deer. I noticed I stopped for to long he would come back and circle overhead flying off when I started to move.  I changed direction on him heading in a different direction as he flew to the coulees but he did not like that.

Here comes the hawk.
Here comes the hawk.

He came back and would sit by me and continue to squawk.  I could see the other hawks on the coulee watching us. I thought I would try going around them but each time I would walk away he would circle overhead and then swoop down and sit by me.  I decided that I would head to the path by the coulees and started heading in that direction.  All this time there were other people in the nature area but he ignored them coming back to me after he checked them out.

When I got to the path I could clearly see the other hawks on the coulee and stopped to photograph them.

Hawks watching me and the other hawk.
Hawks watching me and the other hawk.

What about me

Mr hawk was not happy about this.  He would fly past me until I looked at him and then fly to a nearby tree and perch.  I would go back to taking pictures and he would squawk or fly around.

An older couple was walking down the path and they stopped to comment on the hawk.  She said she had never seen or heard a hawk act like this.  I said you think that is something and I called the hawk to come and sure enough the hawk flew over top of me and landed on another tree.  They were shocked that he listened so well.  They headed off north and I continued walking towards my vehicle. As I got close to the nature center He found a dead tree to watch me and kept an eye on me till I got to the van.

Why Me???

Why he picked me to visit with I am not sure. Whether it was my camera, my voice or what.  Then yesterday I was thinking about this when someone came into the studio wearing a hat like the one I wear.  I made a comment on the hat and as they left I remembered the last person I saw wearing a hat just like mine.  That was last year when I was at the Birds of Prey Center in Coaldale.  So now I wonder if this hawk was injured at one time and rehabilitated.   The way he acted was like I was an old friend and he had to tell me everything that had happened to him.  It was definitely a cool meeting, one I will remember for a long time.

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