Grady rides our range most mornings especially when any of our calves are due to calve.This chore often falls to him mostly because he really enjoys it and partly because he is so good at detecting problems almost before they happen.
Grady is one of those gifted people who has a sixth sense about animals.Often he has amazed us with how quietly and gently he can get most animals to move wherever he needs for them to go.They seem to trust him and he seems to know just how to be in the right place at the right time.
This morning instead of seeing Grady come into the office to give us a report on what he had seen,Cody, his grandson came in. He explained that Grady wanted us to come outside to see what he had.
Mark and I went out to find Grady standing there holding a huge red tail hawk. It was such a picture!
Grady in his old cowboy hat that looks like it was born on his head and weathered there for the last 50 years. He sported his annual wintertime full beard in snowy white and wore an ancient oilskin duster. On his hands were his leather work-gloves. Tucked under one-arm and securing both talons in a gloved hand he held a very alert bird.
Grady explained that he found the hawk ensnared in a fence and unable to free himself. Hanging upside down with wings outstretched the bird had stopped struggling and allowed Grady to cut the wire from his leg. Once free the bird must have been somewhat dazed and could not fly off.
I used to do wildlife rehabilitation work for the conservation department. Grady picked the hawk up to bring back to the house and let me check him out.
I examined the massive bird and renewed my awe of the beauty of these animals. Every inch of their body is fully adapted to fulfill their way of living and surviving. The razor sharp talons that can curl into a tight fist are perfect for catching and holding objects. The curved and pointed beak is just made for tearing flesh.
The keen, sharp eyes appear to have intelligence behind them when you gaze into their depths,which is such a rare privilege for humans. Often I have stood and watched them perched upon a high point watching for prey and wondered at the special keenness of their sight.
This hawk had no broken wings or legs and seemed now, an hour later from being freed, to be in good condition. I took a few pictures of this magnificent animal and then we all gathered around to release him from Grady’s arms, which had held him this entire time.
Grady walked off a bit from the group that had gathered and tossed the hawk into the air. The mighty wings outstretched and caught the resistance of the air. Taking hold just before hitting the ground he recovered and flew upward. We watched until he became a small dot it the sky.