I’m not kidding.
I don’t know if it was a good thing my husband was unsurprised and (to my dismay) rather unimpressed
He was actually said “that sound about right”
Seriously?! What do I have to do to get a reaction around here?!
When I worked at the golf course my beverage cart girl came in one morning and told me that she had seen a baby hawk on the ground the day before.
“AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME!!!”
I almost fired her on the spot. Instead I made her take me out there right away. There are foxes and coyotes on the course and I was sure that the baby did not last the night.
I was surprised on two counts-
1) The chick WAS still there alive and well.
2) It looked more like a full grown hawk than a chick.
Before we left Ca I had started an apprenticeship for falconry and had a little bit of an idea how to get the little/big boy.
Pretty simple really, I took off my chef coat and gently placed it on his head. He fell right over, lights out!
I picked him up brought him back to the clubhouse (everyone there was more surprised than my husband but no one was shocked, go figure)
I made him a hood and feed him some raw meat. He was dubious but hungry so he ate.
Later I got some mice from the pet store and he ate those more willingly.
But nothing could have prepared me for what happened when I brought him home and got some live feeder mice the next day.
I have been keeping snakes for a long time now.
I am a firm believer that you do not just drop a live mouse in the cage and walk away. This often results in mice and rats doing series damage to your pet.
As much as it sucks it is important to make sure the kill is clean. In this spirit I figured I would have to help or supervise feeding live mice to the hawk.
I. WAS. SO. WRONG.
I thought based on the way he had kind of picked at the dead mice I would have to teach him how to deal with the live ones.
My arrogance abounded.
What happened was like something out of Jurassic Park.
He saw them, eyes dilated, keened, closed the gap, shot out a tallon, seized the mouse, covered with his wings, dispatched and devoured the mouse in less than 10 sec.
I have seen a lot of mouse death in my time but this was by far the most awe inspiring.
By the third one I had no desire to supervise.
I had called wildlife rescue intending to drop the fledgling off with them but I was advised that if at all possible return him to the nest.
This was not possible as the nest was 50 feet up a pine, who’s branches are cut up to 40 feet so as not to interfere with the little white ball.
They said that even just returning him to a small tree near by would be better then a life in captivity and that the parents were probably still watching him.
I was worried because when I got him he didn’t poop till hours after I fed him, and if you know anything about birds they eat and poop pretty immediately.
When they poop you can’t miss it:
I was worried that the parents were not going to feed him but I wanted the most natural solution so he was returned to the small tree next to the pines later that day.
The parents did appear to be around so I left him and hoped for the best. The next day one of the grounds crew said he was back on the ground.
I went out there are relocated him across the fairway to some much denser forest. I had to wait for some golfers to play through.
I know that HAD to look odd.
When they realized that there was indeed a woman standing on the cart path with a hawk perched on her hand they asked two questions:
“Is it yours?”
“No he is wild”
“Why isn’t he attacking you?”
“Why would he?!”
We left it at that. I returned my little buddy to the brush by the river and I am pretty sure he made it.
I did not film or take pictures of the live feeding but here are some videos of hand feeding him.
It was quite an experience and I can’t say I wouldn’t do it again…