When I was a kid, my dad got his falconer’s license, and I could not have been more excited. He even built a little shack behind the garage in which to house the bird(s). It was all very cool, but nothing ever came of it and I’m afraid to ask him about it in case it brings up a sense of regret for not being able to follow through and get a hawk or falcon of some kind.
Dad did a great job of instilling a deep love and respect for birds of prey, especially barn owls, red-tailed hawks and cooper’s hawks; both hawks are native to California, and I see red-tails on a fairly regular basis. In fact, they go circling around the small dell outside the house above Silver Lake, and cry out spectacularly now and then, which always sends me rushing to an upstairs window.
Today, I was walking on campus toward work when a hawk landed right in my path about 30 feet away. I froze, and it hopped a little closer toward a puddle on the floor. It took a couple sips before some idiot came blundering up behind me and scared it up into a tree. I watched it for a while longer as it flew from tree to tree and texted Dad in case he was walking to work then too, and could come by and admire it with me. I gave him a call just as it swooped not two feet over my head from one side of the parking lot to the other, so cool! It looked me right in the eye, and I got a really solid look at its bright yellow legs.
Definitely the best start to a work day I’ve had, possibly ever. Unfortunately, I knew at that moment that my day had peaked, and would only get more dull. Oh well. That’s something to add to the stuff I’ll have on my little farm some day: a raptor pen!