August 25, 2002


Birders Journal: Attack of the Flying Goshawk (Robert Winkler, August 23, 2002, National Geographic News)
Taking a step or two more, I froze to the piercing cry—klee, klee, klee, klee!—of a northern goshawk. Finally, my eyes caught a large bird of prey spreading two broad, stiff wings. But it was not preparing to escape. This bird's object was attack.

The goshawk dropped from its perch and shot straight at me, somehow streaking through the trees without stirring a branch. Its battle cry crescendoed as it veered off only feet from my head, landing on a branch that gave me an unobstructed view.

I focused my binoculars on this imposing hawk, the incarnation of wildness. In the genus Accipiter—short-winged, long-tailed hawks that prey heavily on other birds—females are larger than males. The robust bird filling the glass of my binoculars was undoubtedly a female. She bristled with wild energy, glaring at me with orange eyes made fiercer by a broad white eyebrow stripe. Now and then, she flinched. The blue jays still dove at her.

Klee, klee, klee, klee!—she came at me again. I ducked reflexively as this formidable raptor with a four-foot wingspan swooped down on me at, by my estimate, 30 miles an hour.

Maybe the eagles really would have carried Gandalf away? Posted by Orrin Judd at August 25, 2002 5:06 PM
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