The best sign of spring for us at Applewood Manor Inn B&B is the sound of our favorite chicken hawk family. They soar over the area and their wing spans cast shadows on the ground. They are very protective of our entire yard and this year we observed then picking grubs out of our lawn along with scaring off crows! They tolerate us with distinctive calls when we disturb their morning vigilance for food. They do not bother our Silky Terriers, as they are too large to be of food interest with all the other choices this quiet Montford Historic District has to offer.
This year rather than nesting in our front pine tree as they have for the last 8 years, they decided to move their nest to our back side yard. They have made a very large nest in one of our Oak trees! That was a problem for me, once the leaves branch out it will be almost impossible to view the rapid growth of their little white fuzzy chicks. Alas, it would have been a perfect nest to photograph off the York Imperial balcony!
One morning we found a dead baby chick on the ground beneath the huge Oak tree. I do not know if they did not secure the nest well, or maybe there was a chick born with deformities, or may be they only hatched one egg rather than the usual three, but the nest was short one future Chicken Hawk-Coopers Hawk.
The back yard suddenly became very quiet. No hawks protecting a nest. No large brown winged and white broad chested bird hopping around the grass looking for fat juicy grubs. Just lots of other birds nesting and singing in the morning.
Mother nature can be cruel and the hardiest of a species is destined hopefully to survive. I pray our faithful Hawk family will come back next year announcing the beginning of Spring with their loud calls and swooping winged shadows flowing over the yard. But I also pray they will return to the front yard and the safety of the large White Pines sitting majestically in our front island.