People occasionally ask me how, out of all the possible hobbies out there, I ended up birding. The story began just seven years ago with a mother’s day present from my son.
My son, who, in his words, always struggled to find me the right gift, decided upon a lovely bird feeder. A short while later I filled the feeder and my husband hung it from the tree out front. Within hours the first little sparrows and chickadees were gorging themselves from the feeder. My husband and I happened to be looking in the direction of the feeder when a fast moving bird flashed by, right in front of us, chasing one of our sparrows. Unsuccessful in the pursuit, the larger bird landed in our neighbor’s tree. I went inside, grabbed my old camera, took a photo, and, unable to identify the bird myself, I emailed the image to the Toronto Zoo. They quickly responded, telling me I had seen an adult male cooper hawk! My son now calls my bird feeder a hawk feeder.
So began my fascination with birds of prey. I went to the library, checked out and read a book on hawks, and wondered if anyone else watched raptors. I then discovered the Rosetta McClain Gardens Hawk Watch. Little did I know it would change my life – new friends, photography and amazing birds! Now, seven years later, I go to the watch almost every day to see my friends, create new memories, and share my love of birding.
I have had many memorable moments with the Hawk Watch. Once, Lee and I were standing at the fence looking out over Lake Ontario. We watched as a big, BIG bird came closer and closer. We started jumping, laughing, and taking photos with our old cameras as our first bald eagle flew by, almost close enough to touch! Little did we realize that we would end up seeing another 50 bald eagles that year, just from that location.
On another occasion, Frank, Walter and I were at the park very early one morning when we heard the most familiar screaming coming our way. Though Frank is hard to shock, I was flabbergasted as three peregrine falcons flew over our heads, playfully touching talons as they dropped out of sight over the bluffs. Moments later they were back soaring over our heads getting ready for another drop. Wow!
For more information on the Rosetta McClain Garden Hawk Watch visit raptorwatch.blogspot.ca.
Big Frank, Walter and the gang would be happy to welcome you. From mid-August to the end of November, on a good northwest wind day, you could see all sorts of birds migrating south for the winter.
Thanks, as always, for reading.