Saturday, June 09, 2007

Red Hawk Down

Saturday morning and a rare weekend business meeting. 8AM breakfast with a kids video company at the Vanderbilt Marriott (while the DigitalRich Crew is still asleep), and then a rushed drive home to get our girl A registered for Kids On Stage week 2.

Kids On Stage is a wonderful benefit of living in Music City- a week long camp training kids aged 7-17 in singing, dance, guitar, art, painting, digital photography, songwriting and much more. A had decided at the last minute she wanted to attend this year, and Gene Cotton, the event director, was kind enough to let her in with hardly any notice. We had exchanged email at 11PM on Friday night, and despite the fact that registration had closed about a month earlier, he said if I got to the school by 11AM the next day he would get A in for the week.

After making it to the school with about 5 minutes to spare, and getting A’s classes all set, I headed out to the parking lot for the quick drive home. A few feet from my car was a gorgeous young red-tailed hawk standing on the pavement. As I got closer he hopped away but didn’t take flight. I decided to try to approach it, and as he noticed I was coming right at him he took flight…barely.

His left wing appeared broken and he got only 3 or 4 feet off the ground before crashing in a rather ungraceful way. I approached again, and he lifted off, only to smack head-on into a light post. He fell to the ground dazed.

He was breathing hard, moving his head up and down very fast, and in all ways looked to be in his last few minutes of life. I didn’t know what to do. My sister-in-law is a veterinarian so I decided to try to catch the hawk and bring it to our birthday lunch for our daughter L that was to begin at our fave Mexican hangout Garcia’s. I grabbed a towel from the car and got close enough to the hawk to throw it over him and carefully lift him up. He became completely still and played dead so well a possum would be impressed.

I stared at him for a full minute and he didn’t move. I was convinced he was dead and so poked him with my finger. He blinked. I smiled.

I drove home with one hand on the steering wheel and the other gingerly holding him in the towel. By the time I got home I thought for sure he was dead again. He was amazing. I called the girls downstairs to the garage and everyone got a chance to admire him. Michelle called her sister Jackie and she told us there was nothing they could do. The hawk would either heal on his own and make it, or die of starvation. The only other option was to call the local wildlife refuge but they were closed on the weekend.

We set him down in the grass near our patio- at least it was far away from speeding cars in the school parking lot. It was a hot day so we doused him with water and put our little bird bath near him loaded up with fresh cold water. He hoped around a bit, then cried plaintively for his mother. I realized then I probably should have left him in the area I found him. No doubt his mother watched me whisk her little baby away and was none too happy about it. We had to head out to lunch so we decided to leave him there and Jackie would return from lunch with us to see the hawk. I figured I would take him back near the school after she looked at him.

When we returned he was gone. We searched the area but couldn’t find him anywhere. I hope he makes it.

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