Even the wind dare not whisper his name as he sails silently over my mountain. The eyes miss nothing as he scans the forest for a twitch of the tail or the flick of a long ear. His talons are cocked and ready to snatch his prey. Even the most subtle earthbound serpent in the forest is vulnerable to the speed of his silent wings. The only clue I had to his presence was the disappearance of songbirds. As I gazed through my window the smaller birds suddenly vanished into the dense brambles borrowing their thorns for protection. When he took up his perch on my carport I knew that the best chance I had to capture his image was through the dirty window in the back of the house. Still, I had to try. As I lined up my lens with his permission and attempted to focus past the airborne pollen and new cobweb clinging to the glass he cocked his head my direction. I don’t think he actually saw me through the glass but he definitely knew that something moved inside the house. After a few shots I decided to try and ease my why outside for a closer photo. It’s been a while since I’ve practiced my weasel walk but my feet remembered the pattern. Stepping with the balls of my feet and allowing the foot to roll into place before shifting my weight would minimize the sounds of movement in the house. I made it all the way to the side door and he didn’t seem to notice. It was the click of the deadbolt that got his attention. Slowly I allowed the door open but with the sudden creek of the hinge the Hawk turned as if he were spring loaded. The gaze of his piercing eyes struck me with a perceived impact that raised the hair on the back of my neck. The eyes felt like they were attempting to burn through to my very soul as our gazes locked. For a moment I wasn’t really sure if he would flee or charge. Even the largest Red Tail Hawk is no match for a human but he does have razors on his feet and I have enough “cool scar stories” to last for the rest of my life. I slowly shifted the camera in order to raise it to my eye and he drew himself skyward and commanded the wind to carry him over the ridge. Before I could even focus he was just a little dot in the sky.
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