AWK!! What the H’?

Take a guess:

Since neither of us were looking out the window the evening it happened, we’re not certain, but we’re thinking that ghostly blob is “hawk face-plant.”

We heard it hit.  It sounded like a muffler had dropped off someone’s truck and because of the time we had the contractor and the “Apple Dumpling Gang”working at our house for more than a year, our whole neighborhood is now familiar with that sound.

The other silhouette on the window is one of the batch of Audubon Society butterfly decals that we put on the window to keep birds from bashing into the glass.  So much for that. One of the recommended decals is a silhouette of a hawk.

Oh, the irony.

When we redid our sunroom, we debated about the wisdom of adding the large bay window we have now because I worried about the birds hitting it.

The sobering statistics that somewhere between 100 million and 1 billion birds die from hitting windows each year weren’t lost on me.

I did some research.  One study said that by tilting a window downward by 1/16 an inch, the reflection changes from a sky to a ground image, thus disorienting the  birds enough to alter their path.  I mentioned the plan to one of the workmen a couple of days before installation.

They were usually amenable to doing ‘most anything.  After all, they good-naturedly  replaced broken toilets at their favorite watering hole during bathroom fights just for the free beers. (In fact, two of our discarded toilets made an appearance there.)  They were up for anything.

But I digress.

After mentioning the window tilt plan, I overheard them discussing the ridiculous idea of what “she” wanted.  They obviously thought my idea was one for the birds.  However, no one had the nerve to tell me “NO,” until I had seven guys standing in our den, sweating over the ton of triple pane glass they were holding by giant suction things to hoist into the window frame.

“I don’t reckon it would be prudent to tilt this thang down toward that CEment parking pad where your car is sitting,” the contractor drawled.

Maybe you could have stood firm, but seeing all these guys, all protruding neck veins and quivering muscles as they balanced the heavy glass in mid-air, I caved.  And knew I’d been out-foxed.

We have witnessed only one fatal kamikaze flight in the ensuing years, but there have been some uncomfortable bumps.

The reason we think this window spot was a hawk (besides the fact that it’s a huge splat) is because when Dearly Beloved rushed outside to see what caused  the noise, he saw the hawk sitting nearby on the fence.

I worried about the bird–whether it broke a wing or something– but triage would  not have been…um… prudent.

We left for the beach the next day.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from our neighbor:

Well, I was riding by your house and looked over at your front yard.  A HUGE and I mean Huge Hawk swooped down from your tree and came down on your front porch!! You know how I am fearful of birds and feathers.  I nearly wrecked the car!!! You would have heard my scream from the inside of your house!  And I am not exaggerating!  That bird was enormous!

(I don’t plan to tell her about another friend who had a hawk fly into his open car window as he was driving one day.  He thought he was going to have a heart attack before it flew out.)

How should I see this situation?  Is the hawk sitting on the steps watching the leaves fall as he munches on a chipmunk?  Or is he PO’d and staking out our house, waiting for us to come home and open the door?
Can he find a way to wedge himself through our mail slot? Should I put out a warning sign for Trick or Treaters?
One bonus:  I’m pretty sure there won’t be any damnsquirrels trick or treating around our birdfeeders.   They’re probably wondering how I hired him.


Happy Halloween!!!
(Pumpkin carvings by the neighborhood newlyweds.)

13 thoughts on “AWK!! What the H’?

  1. We had one house in the Sierra Nevada foothills with two big windows at either end of the upstairs. You could see straight through the house so we also had numerous “face plants” by birds.

    One hawk, unfortunately, was a fatality. It was so beautiful, we hated to just bury it, so we stuck it in the freezer section of our refrigerator and called the local taxidermist to see if we could have it mounted to preserve it. He said hawks were a protected species in California and it was against the law for him to do that without a special permit from a state agency.

    He also was very skeptical of my story, like “yeah, lady, sure, it flew into your window and broke its neck.” I know he suspected we must have shot it, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

    It remained in the freezer for about a year until we finally gave it a proper burial. Twenty-five or so years later my daughter still talks about opening the freezer and seeing its frozen eyes looking back at her.

    Hey, if you can’t traumatize your kids a little, where’s the fun in being a parent?

      1. Birdie

        Well, I understand perfectly and also totally believe you. Now if I had been in that tragic situation, the first thing I would have done is to properly identify the hawk. Also and alas, my children are not traumatizable; our freezer contained frozen rats for the python and then later a frozen snake. Upon first encountering said snake, my son asked “When are you going to give this snake to “Mother Nature?” (Mother Nature is camp name of my good friend.)

  2. Birdie

    The real comment to Merrily is my firm belief that there will be no squirrels in your yard when you return.
    Also, the hawk in the car is really, really hard to believe, but how could you make something like that up.
    OH, and the hawk was after another bird, he was not trying to fly though. Although that would make it a sharpshin, and the neighbor’s description sounds like a redtail.

    1. I think that happens the same way we see smaller birds getting hit. They’re on a perpendicular path and the car, tooling along at 70 MPH, is suddenly THERE, with not enough time for them to veer away.

      The other bird he was after may have been HIM. Didn’t want to share his meals with another bird.

  3. @Birdie–Apparently it didn’t matter to the taxidermist what kind of hawk it was. He wasn’t going to touch it. If the internet had been around then (circa 1983) it would have been a lot easier to find out that kind of thing. How did we manage without it?!

  4. I forgot all about the hawks when I saw the credits for the carved pumpkins. Newlyweds. Are there any of us who didn’t make those jack-o-lanterns long before we had children? Now we don’t even have a real pumpkin, much less a carved one.

    Hope the hawk stays around long enough to convince the damnsquirrels to move elsewhere. I think the neighbor’s definition of HUGE has more to do with her fear of birds than the size of the hawk.

  5. Wow–we h
    We have had bird strikes, but never a hawk. We do have a hawk that periodically buzzes our bird feeders. We can tell when he (or she) has been through, as the birds scatter like….bird shot.
    When we do have bird strikes, it seems to be small confusable birds. Every window on our sunporch has several decals on it to help steer birds away.

  6. Totally understand your predicament as we too had birds of all sizes fly into our windows and doors regularly… until we put curtains up; in other words, anything that changes what the birds see. I dare say that having a hawk around will discourage the squirrels somewhat!

  7. Never argue with men who sport bulging neck veins!

    It is so ironic, the face-plant next to the decal. Very pretty decal, though.

    I had a downy woodpecker hit my window and die when I lived in Nova Scotia. I was sad, but I took his body to the Natural History Museum because I volunteered there and knew they collected corpses. Into the freezer he went, poor thing.

    I now have a palaentologist friend who collects corpse for the Royal Ontario Museum. If I find anything interesting, I am to stick it in my freezer for him.

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