Friday, May 04, 2007


BRADY TALKS HAWK


These Spring days, the hawks grace the air in high blue romance, the males gliding, squealing and whirling around demurely spiraling but attentive females, the way love soars in wide-winged feathered beings.

Speaking of being, while I was out splitting wood late yesterday afternoon (after double-digging a new garden bed and transplanting some overgrown potted herbs into the soil) I heard a hawk who, at the end of his own days' labors, was majestying atop a pole over by the road, scanning his vast hawkdom and singing his heart out for love, like a feathered troubador. Maybe I was prompted by my exchange in Warbler the other day, but I figured I might as well see if I could get the big feathered being to converse, so I gave Hawk a try.

To anyone acquainted with it, Hawk is a difficult language; Warbler is a lyric breeze in comparison. Hawks work over long distances, so they start off piercingly loud (and far-reaching) at a high pitch and then go higher, the note thinning yet widening somehow, with an even higher-pitched and very difficult vibrato curlicue added at the end. The note is hard, but the vibrato is really tough, not only because the note goes so high and then flattens and widens, but because while whistling that note you have no oral room to move, so have to make the vibrato with your diaphragm, which is at counterpurposes to whistling, to get the whole thing just right.

Hawks have been doing it all their lives, but I just started, so I gave it a couple of feeble tries and garnered no attention other than what might have been a hawkish chuckle. After a while, though, I at least got into the vibrato ballpark, and my general pronunciation didn't seem too bad, but the hawk, who, if I was getting it right, should be needle-eyeing me as a competitor, instead turned and looked at me funny, pulling his head back from his shoulders, like 'What the-- Who the hell-- Was that noise YOU?' Must have been my accent. I tried a few more times, but he could take no more and flew away-- shaking his head, if I'm not mistaken. I tried to whistle my apologies in accented Hawk, but he did not respond.

In further proof of my failure at mastering the wide-winged language, not a single female hawk cruised by to check out this cool dude with the interesting east coast accent. A good thing, too; I wasn't feeling the slightest tinge of feathered romance. Which lack, now that I think about it, probably doomed my effort from the start.

Made wood chopping kind of high and airy, though.

3 comments:

Annette said...

Well, you cannot expect to switch so easily between warbler and hawk without practice. But if you make an effort, any bird can be charmed...

Have you had any experience with half-tamed wild birds? I remember a couple of seagulls from my childhood that stayed faithfull for a summer. Eventually of course they flew away.

Eric Pyle said...

Just like me speaking Japanese...

Suzann said...

just catching up and laughing and laughing