Road Bath

As I may have mentioned a few times this month… it has been hot. And, for the most part, dry.  A hard time for wild critters.  I keep the garden and flower beds watered, not only for the plants, but for the toads, skinks, anoles, lizards, and snakes who live there.  I have two bird baths and I keep them full and a kiddie pool out back that always has water in it (admittedly as much for the dogs as the critters, but I have seen ravens and even turkey vultures stop by for a drink.

Today I got a new visitor.  It rained, hard, and then the sun came out, and the temperatures soared.  My street in front of my driveway floods.  Always. I was headed out to the curb to shove more recycling into the can when I noticed a hawk playing in the flooded street.  It had a sip, flapped and splashed and had a wonderful time.  I moved quietly closer, hoping to get a good look before it flew away.  It didn’t fly away.  Instead it turned and stared at me with bright scarlet eyes, walked a little closer and then resumed its bath.

Oh how I WISH I owned a camera!  Or even a cell phone that would take pictures!

I moved a little closer and the hawk paused to consider if this was too close. Made a single hop, and went back to splashing in the deep water. It would stop, peer at me with those wondrous red eyes, then stride about for a bit, flap, shake….and return to its play.

I am fairly certain it was a Cooper’s Hawk… lots of them in this area… and it certainly wasn’t concerned about my presence.  Finally after a good 15 minutes or so, it hopped (being no doubt too wet to fly) out of the puddle and I encouraged it to go up into my yard rather than sit in the road.  Plenty of shade and cover and a lot safer.  The hawk obliged by hopping and striding into the front yard.  A few minutes later it flew up into the oak tree and settled in for a good preening.

Welcome to the neighborhood.  Feel free to drop in any time for a bath.