A redtail hawk, an SUV, and me…

Last night I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and to grab a movie from Red Box.

It was after a 2 hour wait at the car dealership to get my oil changed, a disappointing loss by Georgia’s Little League team in the Little League World Championship, and after cleaning 3 piles of dog poo on my den floor (thanks Nigel), when I found myself behind this old man at the Red Box station.

I was there long enough that I thought to take out my phone, snap a photo, and facebook about the man Bogarting the box.

2 minutes later I was on the road headed home… when this HUGE, enormous “thing” flew in front of me. As I passed him, I could see that it was a hawk, and he wasn’t dead.

I’m a softy, I love animals, I hate hate hate that I hit that bird. And I was so worried that he was suffering. So I called my husband to come and put the bird out of its misery. When he arrived, the bird was very lightly breathing. So J loaded him into his truck and brought him home to see if we could nurse him to health.

We called the Department of Natural Resources, they no longer have any type of rehabilitation budget. So we were on our own. Honestly, it was only minutes later that the poor little guy took his last breath.

He was so very beautiful. I should warn you that the following photos are of the hawk after he passed away. There is no yucky stuff, but some people are squeamish so I wanted to mention it.

He was just so pretty, and I was so curious…

I had no idea that the talons were so enormous.

My husband correctly identified him as a redtail hawk, according to the photos I found online.

I also didn’t know that hawks only have a bottom eyelid.

And his beak was so magnificent…

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the wingspan is literally as long as my arm.

I think this photo really served the purpose of paying homage to such a beautiful bird. I was seriously upset that I was responsible for taking his life away from him.

Ironically, I hit him directly in front of a graveyard. He was right in front of this headstone that always has a fresh flower arrangement in front of it that spells “JOEY”.

Suddenly the old man at the Red Box just wasn’t nearly as annoying as it seemed in the moment.

Life is too precious to fret over minutes lost waiting while an old man finds the perfect movie to watch with his loving wife, or his adoring grandchild, or maybe even all alone…

We buried the hawk in our back yard beneath a huge oak tree.


This entry was published on August 28, 2010 at 7:20 am and is filed under Squawkings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “A redtail hawk, an SUV, and me…

  1. I am so sorry this happened. I killed a smaller bird once with my car and cried the whole way home. My mom instilled the “don’t touch dead birds – they have germs that can kill you” vibe…so I did not do the right thing and bury him.

    I have seen a lot of big dead birds lying by the side of the road lately – maybe there is something going on….we thought they were owls though, not hawks.

    Your last picture is really touching. I think we all need a reminder about not taking the little things in life too seriously….thanks for helping out!!!

  2. Pat Luther on said:

    Knowing you I know how this must have upset you, but thank you for sharing this beautiful creature of God with us and for giving him a resting place.

  3. I’m sorry you had to go through the trauma. It’s heartstopping to hit any creature. Maybe God was sending you patience since that seems to be what you took from the experience. I hope today is better for you.

  4. I am so sorry you went through this. It happens. Until you said y’all had buried him, I was going to suggest you see if a local taxidermist might stuff the bird and you could donate him to a school.

    Why not make a donation to the National Wildlife Fund or some other group that helps wildlife? Just a thought.


  5. I know just how you feel. I was driving down our main road and the same thing happened to me with a squirrel. I tried everything to avoid hitting him, and at the last minute he turned and ran back into my path!! I was just devastated!! It is soooo hard and I just cried. Sooooo sorry you had to deal with this.

  6. Oh, sad…we’ve all done it at one time or another but when it’s such a majestic bird it’s tough. I hit a turtle once and J.D. will NOT let me forget about it. The worst part is, it wasn’t even in my path, I was reaching for the radio and I veered over a bit and ran right over it. I’m just glad it wasn’t someone’s cat or dog…that would definitely make me cry!


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