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Subject: The Fledgling. rss

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Spring. Parts of the country are covered in snow today, but up here it is mild, even if it has rained for most of the day.

I sat at my desk, looking over the serious posts of Chit-Chat, minding my own business, when she showed. A majestic hawk flying past my office window. She must have been on the roof only seconds before. My eyes were enraptured by that flight.

We have a breeding pair that make their home by the pond. Their nest, it seems, has survived the harsh Winter. The ice storm felled many of our trees, and those it did not have branches still handing down. It looks like a bomb hit. Most of the area is still recovering from that. Who knows when the trees will grow back.

Over the past few weeks I had seen her grow, being fed by the pair. One flying out and surveying the terrain for food, as the other watched. I am certain that the bald eagle who makes his home here would have find the girl a delightful morsel. If not him, then the crows, that congregate in murders from six to sixty (or more).

Despite all the hardships she made it. A big, lovely brown red-tailed hawk with her barred underside. Her feathers are dulled, and her extra large size, letting me know her for a female; a male, you see has brighter plummage and is a smaller bird.

She flew on top of the felled tree that lies a few paces away from the pond. Her colors blended perfectly, making this predatory beauty appear to be a tree branch (unless you know what you are looking for).

I called for Ruth, who was wandering the first floor, to come and see our new neighbor. She did so. The binoculars gave her stunning glimpses of the bird. Nowhere near as stunning as she flew past my window only minutes before, and only an arm's length away. The bird leapt off the tree, walked the grass in front of the pond, then remounted the fallen timber. No, fool she. There are still plenty of other predators about. Still, she did some unusual things. When the crows flew, she mirrored their flight, often landing in the tree at the pond's edge only a few feet from the other creatures. I came down to join Ruth below, and watched some more. Then she headed into the basement, to her office, and I made breakfast.

As I sat watching television and munching away, the hawk flew onto railing of our deck, only six feet away from me. The feathers on the top of her head were tussled and wet from the rain, making the bird look like a punk rocker or like one of those hairstyles Christy had shown. She looked into my eyes, seeming to ask, "What are you doing here? Are you related to that one upstairs I saw earlier?"

"Hello, beautiful," I told her. My experience with birds has always been a magical one.

She stared backed at me, through the window, squawked, shook her feathers, and expanded to her full wingspan. I sighed. She took off, leaving me with a moment of wonder.

Farewell, little one. Fare well.
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