Broad-winged Hawks Further From Home

The past several days I haven’t seen or heard a Broad-winged Hawk around the wooded area where they used to be, and where I think they nested. Some days I haven’t seen them at all, on other days I’ve found them in other parts of the neighborhood.

Almost a week ago, a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk dropped down from a tree along the side of the road as I walked past, captured something on the ground, and flew across the road in front of me and up onto the stub of a pine at the edge of the woods. It sat there and ate whatever it had captured, holding it with its talons on the branch and leaning down to tear up pieces. It was something fairly small, maybe a frog or toad, maybe even a large insect. After eating, the young hawk stayed perched on the stub for maybe ten or fifteen minutes, looking around. Twice it scratched one side of its head with a foot. Dark, clean streaks marked a cream-white breast. Its back and wings were chocolate brown, mottled with pale speckles. Its eyes and bill looked dark, the head very streaked, and paler in color than the back, and the back of the neck was especially streaked. It looked as if the hawk sort of sat back, with legs folded, so that its rear end rested on the branch – but I’m not sure that was accurate. It might have been an illusion from my point of view.

More days passed when I didn’t see or hear the Broad-winged Hawks at all. Then on August 30, I heard their whistled call as I walked down the road not far from our house, and also could hear the agitated cawing of a bunch of crows. As I rounded a corner and headed down toward where all the noise was coming from, two Broad-winged Hawks, one close behind the other, flew together out of some trees, low across a large shady yard, and across a road, into another wooded area, with several cawing crows in pursuit. I think they stopped there in the trees, because the crows continued to caw.

Later that afternoon, while I was outside talking with a landscaper about some work in the yard, I heard the high, repeated whistles of at least one Broad-winged Hawk. It was not visible from beneath the trees in our yard, but was somewhere fairly close and the whistled calls continued for at least half an hour. It may have been soaring or not. There may have been more than one, or not. It was frustrating not to be able to see – but on the other hand, exhilarating to hear those cries, so close, imagining that maybe the young hawks that were born here in our woods were soaring, getting ready to go on their long migration flights.

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