juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous and Henrietta Hawk

Chapter 26

Growing Up

July 24: Learning to Hunt

For days, we have caught glimpses of the young hawks in flight, often one chasing the other. No doubt, this has become more of a competition for food than a game. By now, the flight feathers of the birds are fully developed. The blood has receded from the tender shafts, leaving a sturdy feather that is “hard-penned” to the bone. Only now can Rufous and Henrietta leave their chicks to hunt without fear of injury. The young predators-in-training have all the equipment they need for successful hunting. What they lack is experience — successes, failures, and time must provide that.

We can still hear the young hawks calling occasionally. The call is a little lower-pitched and more strident now. They have probably learned that hunting is best performed from a position of stealth.

Last evening, I walked about listening for the call of a young hawk and heard only the pulsing hum of cicadas, resonating in the trees.

Continue to Chapter 27: Farewell