Wednesday, June 05, 2013

This Time They Are Really Gone

Every time that I’d begun to be convinced that the hawks had abandoned their nest on our property one or both of the harriers has appeared – sometimes dramatically – to prove me wrong.

This time it isn’t happening.

Like the professional football Baltimore Colts who infamously left Maryland’s largest city without notice, under cover of darkness on March 28, 1984, our potential predator parents have definitely forsook our environs for another place.

Our last direct (albeit one-sided) contact with the big birds was about a week ago at 5:30 a.m. when (for the first time in the morning) Mars and I were awakened by their complaining “caks” knifing through he morning haze and into our sleep-clogged ears.

The grousing went on for about thirty minutes, repeated in groups of between five and ten syllables at forty-five to sixty seconds apart.  (Curiously at the same time that I was trying to ignore this cacophonous chorus, I was evidently counting and calculating its pattern and trying to predict, to myself, when the next “cak” was coming.)

We finally got up after hearing the entire concert and about a half hour of “Morning Edition” then performed our normal early morning hawk-check by looking out our front door.  For the past couple of weeks, pretty much every day, there has been a head, and perhaps a shoulder, looming over the tightly bound collection of twigs they call home.  We both were hoping for some additional undersized craniums. But this morning there was not a glimpse of anything.

The next day I caught a quick look at one of the two hawks heading southward from its home base – flying towards the bicycle trail that begins (or ends) directly across the street from their tree where the live.  Later that week Mars spied one gliding in the other direction.

And that’s been it.

We’ve had some rough weather – thunderstorms and heavy rain.  And the local phone company has been putting up new poles and wires in the vicinity of the nest.  I made them aware of the hawks and they seemed to be proceeding cautiously, assuring me that they “wouldn’t disturb them.”

Mars and I suspect that the eggs just never hatched.  There never were any signs of a third or fourth inhabitant of the aerie.  The other breeds that nest in our neck of the woods are busily trying to get their young’uns out and on their own – so this is probably the time when it also should have been happening in hawk-land.

I am guessing now that what Mars and I heard that morning was the couple’s verbal decision to pack it in – at least for this year.  And then what we saw separately was the actual parting of the ways – but who knows. 

It’s disappointing to us.  However having a son full-grown and long-gone, and an annual reoccurrence of more commonplace avian families fledging in our yard, Mars and I have gotten quite used to being empty nesters.

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