Has a strange co-incidence ever happened to you? Something which made you feel a bit uncertain.
That happened to me recently. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you will have read my piece about hunting with hawks, called Hunting with Birds. I’m interested in that right now because the sequel to ‘Reconquista‘ includes a new character who is a falconer. So I have to learn about hawks.
Well, I was in Spain and I happened to be writing a chapter in which two of my main characters are up in the Sierra El Endrinal. They take shelter on a mountain ledge which, they discover, is also home to a pair of birds of prey. It was a lovely sunny day, with the temperature in the twenties so I went out with a friend to her place at the beach. Another friend joined us and, after giving the dogs a run around and buying food to make a good picnic, we headed out to his house in the campo or countryside. This gave me some useful background for my book and made the three dogs who accompanied us very happy indeed.
While out walking in the countryside one of the dogs began behaving strangely. She wouldn’t leave a particular patch of ground and was sniffing around. We soon found out why. Half hidden in a pile of fallen leaves there was a bird, its beady eye almost the only element which distinguished it from the mound of leaves and sticks around it.
Taking great care, we brushed away the leaves to reveal a wonderful creature, a young hawk. It had a rounded head and a vicious, hooked yellow beak, but also bright yellow-ringed black eyes and feathers which ranged from pale fawn to deep brown and black. It’s plumage wasn’t fluffy, so we new that it had fledged a while before, but it wasn’t the size of a fully mature bird. It also, quite clearly, had a broken wing.
The dogs were put in the car and we set about persuading the bird from its hiding place. It couldn’t fly and, if Wendy the dog could find it, so could other creatures which might be less innocently curious. If we left it where it was it would probably die or be killed.
Eventually we got the bird out and my friend placed it, cradling it delicately in her hands and ignoring it’s beak and talons, into a large cardboard box lined with old clothes . Off we set to find a refuge or rescue centre. But the sun was already setting in a blaze of red on the horizon. By the time we got to any habitation it would be much too late to find anywhere that was open.
So it came to stay with me. A wild hawk was my house guest.
It was a lovely and beautiful creature, with a fierce, quick-moving eye. When it was startled its feathers bristled and it seemed to glower at me for bringing it to my home. I provided it with water, but I didn’t have any dead rodents to hand, so I tried raw bacon, the only other meat product I had available.
Hawk was unimpressed. We stared at each other for a while.
It was warm in the room and the hawk, not to mention me, grew drowsy. I cut extra air-holes in the top flaps of the box and weighted the lid down, so as to prevent the bird from escaping and damaging itself trying to fly. After a few minutes I heard it settle down, presumably to sleep, and I went off to do the same.
When morning came Hawk was restless and emitted little whistling sounds, followed by one hair-raising shriek. It probably scared my neighbours. They must have wondered what the sound was, coming from my flat on a Sunday morning. But I took it as a good sign. Hawk was alive and kicking. My friend, having finished her shift at the local hospital, came to collect it and took it to a bird recuperation centre.
Just yesterday, she contacted me to say that Hawk was doing well and the rescue people thought it would make a full recovery! This was my co-incidence.
Unfortunately I couldn’t take any photographs of my hawk – the flash on my camera would have frightened it, So the pics here are of other birds.