I received a request to assist in a release of a Kestrel that was found out on the Navajo reservation. Although we didn’t have anything to do with the rescue, the rehabilitator was frustrated with trying to connect with the people who found it, so she could return it back to where it came from. So I was asked to “handle it” due to my diplomatic skills (! This for the person with social anxiety issues…). Well, I ended up driving the Kestrel 50 miles to the Tohajiilee Pueblo, and the whole Native family showed up for the release! They were all very nice, and concerned for the little falcon they called “Lucky”. There was obviously much anthropomorphizing. But in a good way. I’m used to birds of prey rocketing away as soon as their box is opened, but this little Kestrel just sat, looking wide-eyed at us. She even let “Violet”, her rescuer, and her boyfriend pet her (I allowed it, since the Kestrel did). All of a sudden she rose into the sky, and never have I seen a released bird revel so much in the joys of flight! She had been picked up as a fledgling, and learned to fly in an aviary. She made up for it that day! Figure eights, soaring, diving – it was incredible to watch. The only thing I regret is not getting any pictures!
Later that week, I was checking on a late Cooper’s Hawk nest in the Bosque. This pair of sub-adult parents took so long to nest that all the other Cooper’s in the Bosque had already fledged! So we were concerned for the survival of the two late chicks. But I found one kid, begging loudly on the edge of the nest. As I sat and watched, a flock of Bushtits moved in and surrounded me. Suddenly, their normal “squeaky toy” noises were replaced by an incredibly musical susseration of whistles – I knew something had changed. Then one of the parent Cooper’s Hawks flew through the flock! Since the little gray micro-birds were on alert, not one was harmed. I have mixed feelings; as much as I hate seeing cute little birds get taken by a hawk, I don’t want that ungainly hawk chick to starve, either!
A Common Yellowthroat posed very nicely for me, and I also had another, more down to earth creature on the path –