Beware of Hawks
“Though I feel sure it is not a common event I can tell you it DOES happen that a hawk CAN and WILL fly down while you and your cage-less bird are together. It cares not that YOU are right there if it wants your bird!” These words were just written to me by a dear friend in the hopes that I would remind all of you about the grave dangers of taking your beloved birds outside without being caged. Even though you may have read these stories before, please read them again as a well-intentioned remender.
She continues, “It happened with me and Pete (her beloved little quaker) on the front porch. He was NOT caged….his wings were trimmed and he was sitting with me on my finger in the swing on front porch. The hawk came from ‘out of nowhere’ and navigated the porch posts and made a direct swoosh in front of me to nail Pete….luckily, I was fast enough to pull him towards my stomach and bend from the waist to cover him so the hawk missed his target, got a few of my hairs but missed Pete. It was just TOO close. I was terrified. I don’t know if Pete actually saw him coming or not…he did not react if he did – thank God – otherwise he would have made an attempt to fly which would have been a deadly mistake since his wings were clipped. My point is…though it probably does not happen frequently it DOES HAPPEN and it only takes one time to be deadly. WE were LUCKY!”
Then there’s my own story, which many of you will remember……One cold February day in 2009, while I was out of town, my husband had to take the trash out for collection. Daisy, our beloved little cockatiel, was sitting on top of the cupboard where she loved to listen to her music. It was right next to the door to the laundry room on the way to the garage. She had flown after my husband a couple times because she didn’t want him to leave. Each time he would put her back, but didn’t lock her up.
Thinking he could make a quick escape, he hurried out the door, but as he did, she hopped onto the collar of the very thick robe he was wearing. He neither heard nor felt her. He went out into the garage and opened the overhead door. As he carried the trash can out, he saw her fly up into the air. He started calling her back to him, but at just that moment, a large hawk came out of nowhere, swooped down and snatched her away!
Although my husband ran screaming after the hawk, it was a lost cause. The hawk flew away with her. That’s the last time he ever saw her, our precious little birdie-girl who never knew anything but gentleness and love. My husband was devastated. I was devastated, even though I hadn’t been a witness to this catastrophic event. My grief, therefore, was not quite as traumatic as my poor husband’s. He couldn’t bear to talk about it for a long time. It’s something he’ll never forget. It was terrible!
I know that there are many more of these tragic stories. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it couldn’t happen to you or your bird. I know some of you think that you’ll keep an eye out for hawks, and if you see one you’ll take your bird inside. Did you know that when a hawk swoops in to attack his prey, that he’s SILENT? You may never see or hear him until it’s too late. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I really want to save your beautiful bird from that kind of horrible death, and you, from that kind of grief. Remember…..it only takes one time!
I’m adding a postscript to my story as I just received an email from a friend who had just read this blog. Here is her email:
“I just read your blog and wanted to share something that happened yesterday. I had my new puppy outside. Her name is Madison and she weighs 3 lbs but growing fast. Anyway she was running in the yard, and I noticed a hawk in a tree across the street. It made a big swoop down until it saw me and it took off, but it could have very easily picked up Madison. That happened to a lady arcoss town. She had a little chihuahua and a hawk got it. I saw it on the news. How sad! We have a lot of woods around here. “
So be vigilant with your small animals as well. Don’t leave them outside unattended.