the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Summer of Hawks

Early this summer I noticed a man I didn't recognize walking down our road, camera in hand.  A few days later I saw him again on the same stretch of road, just a few houses from mine.  Then again, and again, always with a camera.  He was too obvious to arouse suspicion, but still, it was odd.  He didn't live there, and there's not much to take pictures of except trees and the occasional turkey or deer.  I finally stopped and asked what he was doing.

His name was Dale Hoffman, he lived a mile away, and he was watching two Cooper's Hawks build a nest at the top of a pine tree just off the road.  He pointed it out to me, a huge mass of sticks crowning the tree, but shielded from view by the branches of a larger, dead tree.  He intended to photograph the hawks from egg laying through raising their babies to adulthood. 

He was also standing guard.  The road commission was trimming trees along the power lines, and the hawk's nest was close to where they would be cutting, just when the pair was laying eggs.  Fearing they would abandon the nest, Dale made sure the tree trimmers skirted the area until the young hawks were grown.  They'd have to come back in two months.  He got no argument - Cooper's Hawks are protected in Michigan.

I saw Dale all summer as he kept a daily log in photos of the hawks raising their brood of four chicks.  It turns out Dale is a pretty good photographer (in addition to having long hair, a rugged physique, and abs of steel - or so he says.  He knows I write romance!)  He allowed me to share his photos here.

The adult's wingspan is from two to three feet, the female being larger than the male.

All four babies made it to adulthood.


  1. Elizabeth CalhonNovember 06, 2011

    Dale Hoffman is an artist that has a passion for taking pictures of nature these are raw and in essence perfect. God intended us to stop and enjoy nature and all of it's creatures. Beauty is all around us and all to often we forget to stop and appreciate it. Thank you Dale for sharing your gift with us. :)E.Calhoun

  2. Those are some beautiful pictures. My hat off to Mr. Hoffman.

  3. I'm a fan of that Dale Hoffman. Keep shootin!