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Hawk Through the Window

Updated on February 21, 2012

Red-tailed Hawk


Hawk Through the Window

In the U.S., hearing about a hawk flying through someone’s window is nothing new to those of us who are connected to or are at least interested in nature and wildlife. Though, not everyone knows an individual who had a raptor fly through their home or place of work. This did not happen to me recently but about six years back when my Father was still living. I had to move in to my parents house after losing my apartment. I stayed in a room upstairs with a view of the back yard. I always looked out to watch various birds flying around. Sometimes, I would spot a hawk in a tree around the yard. Usually, a hawk sits in a tree near a yard when it is looking for prey. Depending on the hawk, it might be looking for birds to eat as well as other small animals. Apparently, there was a hawk near the yard watching the bird feeder. This feeder is an open flat bird feeder that was 22 feet from the back window of the kitchen. It was about 9:30 in the morning and I was in bed, since I am up late. My parents were always early birds and stuck to their schedule. My Mother was not there at the time because she was babysitting my brother’s children. My Dad was sitting at the kitchen table looking at the newspaper for a while and then went down to the basement. He often went to the basement to get tools or work on fixing something around the home.

Red-tailed Hawk in Flight


Keep in mind that I was in bed and did not know my Mother was gone. My parents were older and people were always coming in and out of the house. So, as with any other active home, things would get broken. I heard many crashes over the years from lamps and glasses to dishes, figurines and vases. No, it was not just children or pets breaking household items. My Mom broke her share of things as she got older. Since fragile objects breaking was nothing new to me then I was not shocked when I heard a loud crash coming from the kitchen, which was below my room. It was loud enough to wake me up. The sound was louder than what I used to hear when ceramic or glass items were broken but I just assumed that my Mom broke something larger this time. I did not get out of bed until my Dad came upstairs and called out after knocking on the door. I asked him what was broken and he said with excitement, “A hawk just flew through the window and it’s still alive.” I hopped out of bed to get dressed and grab my camera. We both went down stairs but the hawk was now gone. I thought it might have gone out the opening in the window that it made but my Dad pointed out that he opened the back door enough for the bird to get out if it was ok to at least walk. I guess the hawk was not hurt badly since it walked out and then flew off. We did not see it anywhere in the yard.

While standing among many pieces of thick broken glass scattered around the kitchen, I asked my dad what he saw. Ironically, while I thought he or my Mom broke something, my Dad thought I was the one who broke an item in the kitchen since he was in the basement at the time. My Dad said he came up from the basement and saw the large hawk standing in the kitchen about six feet away from him. He was startled but tried to help the hawk and that is when it hopped down the single step from the kitchen to the back room. It was still in shock, so it fell on its back after going down the step. My Dad said he opened the back door at that time and figured it was better that the hawk did not feel trapped in the room if it was well enough to move around. That was a smart thing to do but I was disappointed because I did not get to see or photograph the hawk. Though, I was glad that my Dad was ok, considering that he was sitting right where the hawk came through the window about five minutes earlier. I did get to see a kind of dark blurry photo my Dad quickly took with an old point and shoot film camera that he used to use for his inspection job. The camera was in a kitchen drawer. The photo was of the hawk on its back while it was flapping after falling over. At least I now knew what species of hawk it was. The large raptor was a Red-tailed Hawk. Obviously, it flew in fast after a bird on the feeder and could not turn in time to avoid the window. Birds have been flying into that back window for years but none of them were large or ever caused any damage. I guessed that the bird being chased probably flew towards the window when the hawk swooped down. I have seen hawks actually sitting on the bird feeder before but that was only when no one was around. You rarely see hawks that close to the house. Though Cooper’s Hawks are the birds of prey best known for going through windows in the U.S., Red-tailed Hawks have done this as well. While Cooper’s Hawks mainly feed on birds, Red-tailed Hawks will eat many different animals. I guess this one saw the birds on the feeder as easy pickings.

Red-tailed Hawk Looking for Prey


My dad and I were glad the hawk was ok but now there was a lot of glass to clean up and it was scattered everywhere. Even worse, the kitchen had a lot of nice wood in it, such as the antique table, chairs, bakers cabinet and the custom wood window sill my dad built. All that wood and the wood floor got damaged. My Dad drove off to pick up my Mom from babysitting. So, now I’m left cleaning up all this glass after being woken up and I never even got to see the hawk. A tiny feather stuck to the back of the table was all I got to see. That was very disappointing. However, since the hawk was well enough to fly away and my dad did not get injured then the only bad thing from the whole experience was the damaged wood and having to replace the window. One thing people should remember is that humans are destroying more of the habitats every year where wildlife survives. This means that close encounters with other species will become more frequent, in one way or another. More birds in the yard is only one example. Please be as caring and patient as my Father was if you come across wildlife that needs help.


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    • Caveman Etris profile image

      Caveman Etris 5 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      Thanks. I will write more when I am not working on something else. The latest page on my website was added yesterday. That is the page on Natural Wonders of the World.

    • Lenzy profile image

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thank you for sharing this story. I hope to see you write future hubs on wildflowers and fungi. The photos you posted on your website are really lovely. Lenzy