Conservation-Kinda Ironic By: Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
September 14, 2012
The title for this week’s column stems from something that happened to me this week. Actually three separate and unrelated incidents with a common thread – all involved a Coopers Hawk. Not the same Coopers Hawk mind you. The first was really close to home – my home. I raise white homing pigeons. That involves flying the birds for exercise. I open the flight door and the birds come barreling out to circle the area as a flock. Well, I opened the door after coming home from work and nobody came out. They were inside but didn’t want to come out. Strange, I thought. In the back of my mind I wondered if they were afraid to venture out for fear of a hawk that might have been in the area. It is that time of year as migration begins to kick in. The next day, my wife decided to let the birds fly. She was babysitting with our one year old grandson, Tate, and he loves to watch the birds fly. When I arrived home later, I was greeted with the news that a hawk had killed one of the pigeons. All that remained was a pile of feathers in the yard. I wasn’t happy but it wasn’t the hawk’s fault. It was pretty easy pickings. I shut up the door and knew that they birds wouldn’t be flying for awhile. And the next day, there was a Coopers Hawk in the tree directly above the birds’ cage. I’m confident it will move on after a few days of checking. The next day, I received a call in the office from a gentleman whose mother was complaining of a Coopers Hawk in Conrad hunting for songbirds in her backyard birdfeeding area. I explained that there wasn’t anything I could recommend but to clean out the feeders and keep them empty for a time until the hawk moved on – and it would. Then there was the call I received two nights later. The caller reported that a sick or injured hawk was sitting on top of his pickup truck when he had returned home. He and his neighbor were able to herd it into the garage and eventually coax it into a box. It spent the night in the neighbor’s pickup topper. In the morning, I retrieved the bird and it was in remarkably good shape. It looked like a prime candidate for the wildlife rehabbers so I shuttled it to Waterloo. On the way back to the office, I couldn’t help but think it rather ironic that I had just taken possibly helped saved the brother of the desperado that had been lunching on my homing pigeons.
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