When I first started to build mosaics 15 years ago, I worked on my deck. Very quickly the Alabama monsoon convinced me I needed a dedicated and waterproof building.
I need a Studio !
So I built a studio in the back of my yard and packed it with machinery, tools, stones, ceramic and glasses of all kinds.
While I was there, I also built a chicken pen behind it to get me some fresh eggs. You can hear my chickens on some of my videos…
The chickens sounded like a good idea back then. That is, until the feed attracted rodents, and the chicken themselves attracted predators.
One of the first thing I do every morning is feed my chickens, I have to walk through the studio to get to their pens, I feed the chicks, harvest the eggs, and walk back home, sometimes stopping on my way back to lay a few tesserae.
The Cooper’s hawk…
Last Wednesday, walking out of the studio I spotted a bird in one of the pens. Sparrows and black birds often fly in and out through the chicken wire to eat some of the grains. But in the morning all the grain from the previous day is gone, so they wait until I feed the chicks to come. So of curse this bird had nothing to do here, and bigger than any foreign bird allowed on the premises. Actually, he was a hawk. The little feathery bastard had just invited himself for breakfast, and one of my hens was going to be it !
I locked the gate of the pen grabbed a pair of work gloves, protection goggles and an old bath towel.
Now if you ever have one day to catch a raptor to rescue him make sure you get protections, the strength and sharpness of their talons make them very efficient weapons. (They are very strong when grabbing or closing, but rather weak to let go or opening.)
A towel ?
The towel I used to blind the hawk, this is an other thing with most wild animals, once you blind them they become very tame. – this is also why falconers keep a little hood on the head of their birds to keep them quiet. They remove that hood when they see a potential prey and let the bird fly toward it.
Anyway, I caught the poor bird, he was very scared and unhappy that I not only caught him but also stolen his breakfast.
He tried to stab me with his talons at first, I wrapped him in the towel, unhooked the talons from my gloves, grabbed them closed, and was able to take a few pictures of him.
Then I let him go. He is still around, I hear him…
He was a juvenile Cooper’s hawk. Young, not very smart and probably very hungry…
Next time I’ll tell you about my friend the rat snake…