It was somewhere around the end of March, or the first part of April in 2003, at least we all were still wearing winter coats. The LammasFest Committee had gathered for a meeting, and when it ended some of us decided to journey to the Cottonwood Campsite to show it off to people who had not seen it.
Cottonwood is a magical sort of site. It looks very small and intimate, but when you begin walking through it, it sometimes seems as though it’s taking much longer to get through it. That’s how we were feeling as we picked our way through the grounds, inspecting the layout of the sizes and shapes of the individual sites, the placement of the trees, how we could utilize the site for our needs.
I think we all noticed the birds at the same time. I know we all stopped in our tracks, open-mouthed in wonder. Before us was a tree full of birds. You might laugh, because flocks of birds in trees in spring season is a common sight. This was not. This tree was full of red-tail hawks. At least 30 birds were in that tree, watching our approach. By our reckoning, 30 birds is probably conservative…there may have been as many as 50. They watched us till we were almost underneath the tree they rested in. Then, one by one, they launched themselves into the air and circled lazily around us before beginning their flight once more.
Red-tail hawks are territorial birds. They defend their chosen area from others of their kind. Typically, a mated pair of red-tails and their young require up to ten acres of hunting land. To see a grouping of red-tails is unusual, but they migrate together. We can only assume what we were blessed with seeing was a resting flock of migrating red-tails. We were all happy there were others with us – none of us had a camera, and surely no one would believe it if only one of us had seen this!
Those of us who follow nature-based religions are accustomed to seeing blessings in Mother Nature’s children. We felt that we had been given the blessing of the Hawk on our chosen site for the Lammas event. The least we can do to honor Hawk is to make sure in some way we help care for those who have been injured at the hand of Man…thus we will be raising funds for the MacBride Raptor Center.