Sunday, September 20, 2015

Raptor Release

Perfect day for a raptor release on Pack Monadnock. NH Audubon freed two broadwing hawks, both young females, after their recovery from injuries. It was such a joy to watch them burst from their transport boxes and take off into their natural habitat--the wide sky. A very moving experience, no matter how often I see it.

(c) Nikki Andrews
(c) Nikki Andrews

This handsome fellow is a 15 year old red-tail hawk who did not recover fully from an encounter with a car. He will remain a shelter bird because he cannot fly well enough to make it on his own in the wild. He helps Audubon teach the public, especially school kids, about wild birds.

Pack Monadnock
September 19, 2015 

She hesitates, confused.
The world has been so wrong.
First pain, then suffocating blindness,

The sensation of movement though she moved not a muscle.
More darkness, odd smells, odd sounds.
She woke in a strange place, but she could move and see.

Food came, dead food she had not hunted.
But she hungered, so she ate.
Pain departed and strength returned.

She took wing, but the sky was fenced.
She could not rise to seek natural food,
Nor cruise the spiraling thermals.

Days passed, and nights,
And then this place of semi-darkness in daylight
And once again movement though she moved not.

She hesitates, confused.
Noises around her like those of her captivity,
Light and air and open sky before her.

The moment is right. She launches,
Takes flight, finds the rising air.
Head up, wings strong,

She dances on the winds of noon.


  1. Replies
    1. Lovely ! I have a beautiful hawk out by my place, and another one I see on the way into town. I just love seeing them

    2. Aren't they wonderful? We've had a pair of redtails nesting in our neighborhood for at least 10 years. I love it when the chicks take their first flight.

  2. A lovely, provocative poem, Nikki. Thanks so much for sharing this on a rather cloudy morning. I especially love that last line!

  3. Replies
    1. Oh, that's the best comment anyone could make! Thank you!

  4. Thanks, Nancy. The last line is a salute to the rehab facility, Wings of Dawn.

  5. What a lovely poem and tribute! We have hawks where I live as well as love to watch them from the Palisades.

    1. Thank you, Jacqui. While we were at the release, we also saw a kestrel, two merlins, a couple of osprey, and a bald eagle, and I'm sure I missed a few.