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One of the best parts about living in a rural area is being able to interact with wildlife, and all of the great stories that go along with that. We were out on the deck one fine, late-May morning, enjoying the view of a poplar bluff to the north of us when we noticed what appeared to be a nest built on one of the taller trees. I got our binoculars out and was surprised to see a little brown tuft of feathers peeping back at me. It was the nest of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) with a baby hawk inside surveying its realm! It was a great opportunity to get a closer look, so I dragged out our telescope and discovered a second baby hawk was also in the nest. We decided to name the the babies Hudson and Porsche, in honour of our grandson’s favourite movie.
Over the coming weeks, we enjoyed watching our little friends grow to the point where they began to crowd the nest. The land on which we live must be prime hunting territory, as the birds grew quickly. We even got to watch them take their inaugural flight—a bittersweet moment, as we knew they would soon be migrating south.
The hawks did come to visit us before they departed, though, and I managed to catch a picture of Hudson sitting on our deck rail while he and Porsche exercised their flight muscles. I don’t think I’ll ever be close to such a regal creature again!
A year later, the parents came back to the nest and we watched them raise a single chick, which was gratifying indeed.
Early in the new year, my wife and I strapped on our snowshoes and trekked the 500 meters over to the nesting site, only to discover that the high winds of January 15 had knocked the tree down, destroying the nest completely.
While the parents may come back this year to re-establish their nest (as hunting is good in the area), it is doubtful that we will be so close to them again. But we will always cherish our memories of watching those majestic birds live and grow in the wild from our own backyard!
About the Author: Michael Clancy grew up in Carrot River, SK and is currently retired after spending 33 years with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency working in the Center for Food-borne and Animal Parasitology (CFAP).
For many summers during the seventies, Mike operated the only “hiking survival” group between the Rockies and the Laurentians in the boreal forest of what is now the Narrow Hills Provincial Park. He married his wife, Anna, in 1979 and together they raised a family in Saskatoon. Also together, and with a lot of help from the family, they co-authored Discover Saskatchewan: A User’s Guide to Regional Parks, A Feast of Persephone and Discover Saskatchewan: A Users Guide to Saskatchewan Parks, which you can purchase here.
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