Although I've been showing hawks at Ijams for almost 16 years, I've never really written about it. Few things in my life almost daily humble me or fill me with awe more. The feeling is one of power, not me but the hawk. I'm a mere mushy-around-the-edges human like an Oreo cookie inside out.
Owls are soft and even gentle. They can hurt you quickly, but they often like to be petted like cats.
Not hawks. They're different. They can hurt you without even meaning to like chainsaws. They're wound tight. Hawk-eyed. Watchful with attentive stares like palace guards; their talons like Mughal daggers. Hawks draw blood with ease. Sheer power reverberates through them like an accelerating Harley on an open road. Redtails are the linebackers of the local hawk world with Ray Lewis strength. They hit and hit hard; striking from the air feet first. Without a heavy leather glove, a handler's hand would be quickly diced.
You have to be totally in the moment with such intensity perched on your arm; knowing that you are the weaker of the two. Indeed.