Close-ups of our neighbors

I should preface this blog post by saying this story has a happy ending.

We had an exciting evening here. It started when Companion was eating dinner and watching a pair of red-tailed hawks hanging out on the neighbor’s roof. When one of the red-tails decided to fly off, it instead ran straight into one of the roof’s satellite dishes.

Companion went outside to check on the bird, which was now lying immobile on the roof peak like it had had its clock thoroughly cleaned, or worse. Then he came to tell me about it. “There’s something interesting going on outside, but it also might be upsetting …”

He sure knows how to start a conversation.

We both went out with our binoculars. The hawk was still at the roof’s peak, lying a bit lethargically but with its head clearly moving. We wondered if maybe it had clipped a wing. Its buddy was nowhere to be seen.

We watched it for a while and then called the local Humane Society’s wildlife rehabilitation center. It was way past dinner time, so I was pleasantly surprised when someone picked up the phone. After asking a bunch of questions (“Describe what happened. Is it a juvenile or an adult? Highly speckled or not very speckled? How much is it moving?”), the person who answered the phone said she’d call us back after talking to one of their naturalists.

We went back outside, at which point the injured hawk had revived enough to hop onto a chimney.

red-tailed hawk on chimney

Its buddy returned.


And immediately set about dismembering something wrapped in paper.


Upon further inspection, I realized it was a paper towel.

red-tailed hawk dismembering a role of paper towels, wings spread
The tail is brown, so this one is likely a juvenile.

Still, it was a dramatic dismembering.


Our injured guy hopped off the chimney and flew about ten yards toward its buddy, which included a few flaps. A good sign!

Then paper-towel kid struck a stately pose with its vanquished paper towel roll.

juvenile red-tailed hawk poses with paper-towel roll

At some point during these events, another hawk flew by and squawked at them. I wondered if it was one of their parents telling them not to (a) eat paper towels or (b) clock themselves with satellite dishes.

When I went back out to check later, only one of the hawks remained there. But given how zealously it was guarding the shredded paper towels, I thought it was probably not the injured one.

The Human Society called back and I told them things were looking better. Tomorrow when it’s light I’ll check the roof again just in case.

Maybe without my binoculars and camera this time. My neighbors are probably starting to get creeped out by the way I point those things toward their house.



1 thought on “Close-ups of our neighbors”

  1. Whilst you we're off on your travels, Lorna and I might have seen one of these guys.We were walking away from your place towards the parking lot and spotted movement on a porch across the way, past the cottonwoods. We saw wings flapping and realized there was a hawk there, it flew away but we noticed another hawk still perched on the railingReply

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