Last Thursday my good friend Paul Young and I traveled to the Connecticut Flower Show in Hartford, where we were to spend the day volunteering at the Tri-State Hosta booth. The Flower Show is a good way for gardeners to hurry spring, viewing the April-scented landscapes built for the weekend, browsing the offerings of the vendors and mingling with others impatient for the feel of earth in their hands.
Though the Show was a pleasant interlude in a cold, interminable month, it was what we saw along the way that is most memorable. We hadn't been on the road a mile before I spied the first hawk. High in a tree on the side of the road, waiting for a rodent to venture forth and thus to become breakfast was a fine specimen of a bird. Strong-winged, sharp-eyed, beautifully plumed. A red-tailed hawk.
I began to count. By the time we reached Hartford an hour later, I had seen 10 hawks. All perched in trees high above the highway, scanning the grassy sides of the interstate, searching for a meal. On the way home I counted another 12.
They're back. The hawks have left their winter feeding grounds, and are arriving back home in Connecticut, here to mate, build nests, and raise their young. On clear days their piercing cry of "kee--kee--kee" can already be heard over the silence of the late winter woods.
The hawks are back. Sping can't be far behind.