June 17, 2009 Red Tail Hawk Rescue
I am one that could never understand the thinking of western civilization. Maybe it is wrong of me to point my finger that way but what I came across yesterday turned my stomach.
I was taking a drive down to Bumble Bee Arizona to get some photos for the book I am writing. It was a fairly bad road that “quadders” as I call them like to frequent. I came to the intersection and took my usual left turn to the cow pond called Hidden Treasures. I noticed off to the left there were some teenagers messing around at the pond. I saw them throwing rocks and sticks into a tree that sat just on the bank of the pond. I didn’t think anything of it at first so I drove on. I drove on for about a half mile then it hit me…”I need to go see what they were doing” I said to myself. I spun the truck around abruptly in the middle of the dirt road and sped back to investigate. As the teens noticed me returning they hopped on their quads and bolted. They sped off in a hurry in the direction of a town called Cleator. I stopped the truck and got out. I noticed all the branches and rocks laying on the ground in, on, and and around the tree. As I investigated a little more I found some bird droppings. I looked into the tree but didn’t see a nest at this point. I started back to the truck and something in the corner of my eye caught my attention. Laying next to a barbed wire fence next to some sticks and rocks were two baby red tail hawks. I almost started to cry when I noticed one of them get up and take the defensive position as to defend his sibling from further harm. One of them had some blood around his mouth.
I new not to bother them so I kept a close eye on the two knowing this was a heavily traveled area were people liked to shoot and mess around. Where’s momma I thought. There was no sign of her anywhere. I know the area very well so I went to get a few pictures for my book. I left them there for around an hour and came back. They hadn’t moved and there was still no sign of their mother. At this point really began to worry. It was this day I wish I hadn’t forgotten my cell phone. I got back in the truck and headed home to get my phone and hopefully at the same time some help.
I arrived home fifteen minutes later, the trip should have taken thirty. The entire way all I could really think about was those two little babies. I spoke with fish and game, and Adobe Mountain Sanctuary and asked what I should do. They informed me that if the mother doesn’t return I should transport them to a rehab center. I was worried about human scent on the babies. I had always herd the mother wouldn’t take them back if that happened. I though about those teens and was worried they had touched them. Apparently That was an old wives tail and had no truth to it at all. The hawk as with most North American birds do not have an extremely acute sense of smell with the exception being the turkey vulture.
I drove back to the location and parked at a distance. I sat waiting for the mother to return. I was there for fifteen minutes when the place started to fill up with people. I knew the mother wouldn’t come back if there were people in the area. I told them to stay clear of that area and explained what had happened. They were very understanding and happy to comply. The people stayed in the area for close to two hours. No more than 30 seconds after they loaded up and left here came momma. I was so excited to see her land on that branch. Now was the moment of truth. I watched her as she repaired the nest and communicated with her four, yes four babies. There were still two left in the nest that managed to hang on and lay low.
The mother started talking to her children and they were listening. I could tell she was telling them to climb higher. They would flap their wings and climb the brush like a ladder. They climbed till they reached a high branch. At this time I was sitting on the pond bank in clear view of all of them. She didn’t seem mind me being there. At one point I helped the little ones onto a branch. Momma just sat their, till I moved out of the way she began talking to them again. I went back and sat in my truck to watch them climb. They made it to the nest. I could see their mother caring for them. I could only imagine what it must have been like to go through that. For such a small helpless creature to be tormented and frightened by something so much larger and stronger than itself.
I went back today to check on them…well with all their orneriness they were back on the lower branch of the tree. After yesterday I do believe they will be just fine, provided no one does that again. I spoke with the ranch manager and they are going to see to it those birds are safe. I was told that if I see anyone messing with or destroying anything to get their info and use force if needed and make them leave. They told me thank you for the help and to keep my eye out.