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Hawk Prey; Buteo of the Day; The Bus Is Back! Summer and Fall Planning Starts in Earnest

While running next to Tampa Bay at MacDill AFB, I approached a hawk sitting atop a pole just off the trail, obviously looking for a meal. At thirty feet out, I was getting within the hawk's "space", so he launched from his perch, and flew directly toward me, passing only a few feet over my head. For an instant, I felt what mice, rabbits, and other birds must feel when they are about to become the main course of the hawk's dinner. 

My conscious mind told me that he wasn’t really a threat, but my subconscious mind’s advice, if only for an instant, was to dive for cover before those talons dug into my flesh… you may think that this would be a very unusual incident, but there have been many confirmed attacks on humans by hawks and other raptors over the years, so you might want to wear a hard hat next time you’re out watching hawks…

Bird of the Day: Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), the most common hawk in North America, whose habitat ranges from Alaska and northern Canada south to Panama and the West Indies. This hawk is widespread across the US, and is often nicknamed the “chickenhawk”. This hawk averages about 3-4 lbs, with a wingspan of 4 feet or more. Hawks often hunt in pairs, with one attacking a squirrel on one side of a tree and the other hawk picking off the poor rodent when he runs to the opposite side of the tree. They are also extremely intelligent birds; Red-tailed hawks are often trained by falconers, who work as a team with a dog to flush the prey for the hawk’s kill, usually with good effect. (Note: There are only about 5,000 falconers in the US, making their impact on the 1 million Red-tailed hawk population insignificant… that’s not helping the quail or rabbit population, though…) 

Unlike other raptors, Red-tailed hawks do not seem to be affected by human activity. One hawk family, led by an adult named “Pale Male”, even set up house on a ledge in Manhattan, subsisting on pigeons and brown rats. (And with all those great restaurants around… Yuck!)  

The purpose of our trip to the big city of Tampa was to pick up The Bus, which was having some rust damage repaired and the fridge cooling system replaced. She is back in town now, and we are starting to get ready for our summer road trip. Contrary to our initial plan, we won’t be making the drive to Alaska this summer. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything we want to accomplish in the lower 48 and Canada and also drive to the Far, Far North and back before 1 October. Key “anchor” events are starting to fall into place… just one example… Suzanne will be giving the sermon and a presentation at the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle on July 14 (average attendance at church is 1000 members). She was also invited to be one of the keynote speakers during a week-long spiritual journey to Crete, Greece, in early October with Dr. Eben Alexander and several other speakers. Several of her friends from The Villages have already signed up for this unique trip, and you are welcome to join them. See her web site, www.LoveAtTheCenter.comfor details. Our other stops along the way to/from Seattle are still being firmed up… “Watch this space”…

Your Faithful Correspondent also has some key events planned for this summer… photography in Antelope Canyon, Arizona; hiking in the Rockies, Grand Canyon, Cascades, Tetons, and Wind River Range; and kayaking in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota, just to name a few. “What, Minnesota, Land of the Frozen North?” Yes, I am hoping that “freeze-up” is delayed this year, and that when we visit in September, I won’t be frozen in (or eaten alive by black flies) while paddling this lovely area… (Yes, Terri, you can tell the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce that your marketing campaign is working…)


  • Jennifer
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Ty,your photo of the HAWK is amazing. Beautiful.
    Where did you find the photo of this many being attacked?

    Sounds like you both have quite a schedule ahead of you. Greece sounds like a great place to visit..

  • Janbobbly
    Posted March 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm


    You buddy Bob.

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:33 am

    To Jen and Bob:

    Jen, Google image search is an amazing tool; I just plugged in "hawk attacking man". Yes, our summer schedule should be fun, especially the mountains.

    Bob, Yes, I do plan on fishing and even some catching (if the Fish God smiles on me that day…), especially in Minnesota. I hope it won't be ice fishing.

    All the best, Ty


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