Weeks ago we noticed that a pair of red-shouldered hawks had made a nest in the crook of a pine tree on the edge of my neighbor's yard. This is directly across the road from our garage entrance -- the driveway on the side of our house that has a basketball hoop -- so it's easy for us to keep an eye on things. There are lots of hawks around here, as well as owls, because there are lots of little animals for them to eat: squirrels, rabbits, mice, snakes, lizards, etc. Usually we see red-tailed hawks, which are very large. Red-shouldered hawks are slightly smaller, but still on the large side.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we became aware that the hawk babies had hatched because they were loudly peeping all the time. Son Number Two was the one who discovered them first. He climbed a tree and looked over and there they were! There are three of them in the nest. How they all fit without falling out I don't know because they are LARGE. They are so cute (in a creepy bird way, those sharp beaks are a little ominous). They still have their white fluffy baby feathers, although even in the past week the feathers appear to have gotten a little darker. If they see us outside they start peeping louder and peer over the edge to see what we are doing. It's kind of like they are asking us "Don't you have something for us to eat?"
A little before it gets dark they lay their little heads down and go to sleep. So sweet! I don't know how they are going to learn to fly from so high up in that tree. But we don't want to miss that so we're being vigilant about checking on them.
I have been unable to get a photo of all three at once. I also would like to get a photo of the mama bird feeding them, but so far we have not had the camera ready at the right time. I am having to use the zoom on my camera and I can't really tell what's on the picture until I download it and blow it up. Anyway, here are some pictures of our hawk babies.
Here are some shots of two of them:
I don't know if wildlife is particularly attracted to our family or we are just more aware of it (I don't know if my neighbor even realizes this hawk's nest is in his yard). I do know that the natural world has been a blessing to us, almost like a balm to soothe the soul, if you'll pardon the cliche. Somehow the stress and tensions of human relationships and everyday troubles is easier to bear once you've spent some time with baby hawks or listened to geese fly overhead or examined the underside of a gecko as it climbs your window. It's a reminder that the world is far bigger and mysterious than our troubles. The God who created such interesting creatures and weather and plants and landscapes and skies is so gracious to let us be a part of it and glimpse a tiny bit of wonder.