Kevin Cook went to Corpus Christi, Texas, recently to witness witness the spectacle of a hawk migration as the birds head toward South America for the winter. (Jeffrey Wang / Special to the Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Dark specks clustered the distant sky.
The young bird came in a box. Someone found it, assumed it was abandoned, caught it and brought it to me. I was in sixth grade but had earned a reputation as a person who could care for baby animals, especially birds.
The specks swirled in a graceful but random motion.
Back then, the bird was called a “sparrow hawk.” Two decades later, American ornithologists finally got around to acknowledging that a bird in the falcon family shouldn’t be called a “hawk” because hawks and falcons really are biologically different; they renamed it “American kestrel.”
The number of specks grew and what had been a cluster became a small cloud.
I fed it, gave it water, sheltered it at night and in a couple weeks set it free to fend for itself, an action its real parents would have done.
The random motion slowly but uniformly transformed into an elegant spiral.
Such encounters nourished my interest in wildlife and encouraged a pursuit of knowing them. What lives out there? Where do they live? How do they live? How are they the same? How are they different? What do I need to do to find them?
The specks, already small, shrank even smaller as their spiraling gently carried them up. 10-06-21