When you see a comment I post, the little Gravatar above shows up. I realized that I had never written about this image, so I chose to do so today. I have always loved hawks, whether sitting atop power poles and trees or flying overhead. Occasionally I have even been very close as a hawk devoured her prey–usually a squirrel or a pigeon. Neither of those creatures are endangered, especially not around my house!
Falconry lives in little pocket throughout New England. I learned that it also still reigns in England, as one plucky hawk keeps Wimbledon free of pigeons.
As a gift, my husband took me to Hadley, Massachusetts to the home of New England Falconry for a 45 minute talk and experience with a Harris hawk, pictured above. After donning a thick leather glove, clasping a tiny piece of fresh meat(rabbit I think) I stood stock still while the handler whistled to the hawk in a nearby tree. For a while the hawk was more interested in chasing a nearby bird, but eventually he saw the meat. In a staggeringly fast move he swooped down, landed on my glove and ate the meat. The photo captures the moment he was swallowing it down.
I was about as startled as you would expect as the bird flew straight at me, despite my being told that was what would happen. It took a moment for my heart rate to return to any semblance of normal. But as soon as it did, I was ready to try it again. There is nothing to outdo looking a bird of prey eye to eye and rejoicing that he prefers rabbit!