My husband recently decided to let Gracie, his first red-tailed hawk, fly free. Only 20% of most hawks in the wild make it to maturity (due to many reasons including disease and poisoning from eating tainted rodents). A hawk that has an opportunity to be with a falconer has a greater chance of surviving when it is released, as it will be stronger and healthier than if it were in the wild. I had a chance to take a few photos before he released her:
Gracie about to eat her last easy meal.
Gracie after eating that mouse.
She has such beautiful color and angles.
Argos waiting patiently.
Gracie (her beautiful red tail) and Theo
A Profile of Gracie
Just about to be released.
Gracie sits in the tree, unsure of her new found freedom.
My husband, saying a final farewell to Gracie.
Gracie finally flies away after about 15 minutes. Can you find her flying in the trees?
My husband has a new hawk now, a male, whose name is Oz. Stay tuned for photos and news about this new addition to our family!
Every once in a while, you come across a person, a book, a quote, a moment with nature, or even an inspiration born of your own heart that reminds you of the simplicity and wonder of life. I’ve been following a few inspirational bloggers over the past year and am continually amazed at the depth and beauty of humanity that is present in humankind amidst all of the chaos and degradation in the world. There are many shining lights out there and I’m always honored and excited to find them when I do.
Today, a fellow blogger released an ebook entitled, “The Courage to Face Ingratitude…and other indignities.” The ebook, based on a popular series of posts on his blog is an artfully written guide on how to face ingratitude, thanklessness and even hate from others. What do you do when someone doesn’t appreciate you, doesn’t care how their actions affect you or seeks to denigrate you? I don’t remember ever learning how to handle these things in school, yet this is something that every single person faces in their lives. On the other hand, we are not only affected by the ingratitude of others, they are affected by our ingratitude.
Although most of my blog has been dedicated to the sport of falconry (through my husband) and photography, with a sprinkling of poetry and the arts, none of this would be possible without the inspiration that comes from appreciation. Appreciation (gratitude) is what opens my heart and allows me to see what otherwise I would not.
If you, like me, feel that you can make a difference in the world and are committed to being a catalyst for change, then I’d highly recommend this ebook – you’ll love it. You can find it at www.gregghake.com. And, like gratitude, it’s free.
I came across this beautiful poem about the Kestrel, which is a small falcon only a little bigger than a Robin. It’s distinctly colorful and when it hunts, it “hovers” in the currents of the wind.
It was written by Gerard Hopkins and published in 1918. He admires this remarkable bird of prey alluding that it controls the wind as a man might control a horse. The kestrel then suddenly swoops downwards and “rebuffs the big wind”.
I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin,
dapple-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! Then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend; the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird–the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valor and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it; sheer plod makes plow down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Now that you’ve felt his immense delight for this bird’s prowess and design, watch this video of the kestrel floating on the currents of the wind with its eye to the ground for a tasty morsel.
I loved how Hopkin’s described the Kestrel as “daylight’s dauphin, dapple-drawn Falcon.” You can see in this video the beautiful dapple coloring in its wings. The Kestrel is also known as the “Windhover” as it requires a slight headwind in order to hover.
On a recent hunting trip in South Georgia, these falconers and their hawks hunted together for squirrels, a common prey for the Red-tailed Hawk. The photos illustrate three different hawks (Gracie, an immature female, Scout, an immature male and Heath). If you look closely at the photos, you will be able to tell a difference in the appearance – their size and coloring (you also might see a squirrel, racoon and armadillo!).
Click on the “expand” button on the bottom right corner to view larger images, then sit back, watch, relax and imagine you were there…
Many thanks go out to Bart, the photographer who braved the forests and took these photos.
I couldn’t resist adding this one by itself – my Husband (above) running after Gracie who has a squirrel in her talons…
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