December 19, 2015, brought me one my most memorable hawk watching sightings: a golden eagle flying through snow flurries and patches of sun. This poem is an attempt to share the moment, and is dedicated to the staff and volunteers of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. (Note: the phrase “under three” refers to a landmark used at the Sanctuary’s North Lookout.)
‘Twas six days before Christmas, and up on the mount,
three hearty birders were keeping the count.
We were wrapped in clothes layered a-plenty,
for temps were freezing and wind was at twenty.
The skies were cloudy with bursts of sun;
and we were saying, “This is great fun!
But are there yet birds coming our way?
Perhaps it is time to call it a day.”
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
but a bird under three that was drawing near.
We watched through optics as snow flurries flew,
and it wasn’t long till we realized and knew,
that this marvelous bird was a full grown golden:
what a wonderful sight to enjoy and beholden!
Closer and closer it came flying low,
drifting along on the windy flow.
Its color and streaking were easily seen;
it sparkled and glittered with golden sheen.
Feeling awe and majesty all around,
we stood in silence, not making a sound.
Then when it sailed to sun’s westering light,
we broke into applause for the glorious sight!
Now it is the birds that draw us together,
in heat, in cold, in all sorts of weather.
But what’s most golden about Hawk Mountain place
is the smile seen in each person’s face.
So thank you staff, and volunteers, too,
thanks and gratitude I give to you.
To all whom I enjoy seeing each fall:
Merry Christmas to each, Merry Christmas to all!
(Written 2015, in appreciation of the birds and people of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.)