Thursday, June 3, 2010

Northwoods Adventure: Why We Had to Come Ashore

So -- as we left things in the previous (inadvisedly cliff-hanger-y) post, we'd been summoned back to the cabin in a voice that brooked no dispute, without knowing why. The distance would have been an easy dash on land, but not from an anchored pontoon boat with the crew bobbing about in the water! Had to get everyone back on board, haul up the anchors, get the boat restarted despite a balky battery, then ease it back into the super-shallow water next to the pier. All without unduly scaring the young'uns... Rose in particular has such an imagination.

As you can guess, the adults on the boat had no trouble imagining a couple of dire health-related scenarios too. Just in case, I volunteered to keep the girls busy at the pier and let the guys go pounding up to the cabin to see what was up.

GrampaK was on the screen porch, trying to catch his breath. From the adrenaline. According to reports, the first words out of his mouth were, "The window exploded!"

He'd been sitting at the dining table with his back to the window in question, halfway across the room. All of a sudden there was a huge crash, and glass from the window came flying all over the room, some of it hitting him in the back and head. He escaped to the porch and was waiting for reinforcements to try and sort things out (and check for cuts, which fortunately were none).

Guess what they found on the kitchen floor, amidst the shards. A sizable hawk, somewhat dazed but very much alive! [Update: and here it is!]

We suspect that the hawk was stooping down on one of the birds that was nesting in the eaves of the cabin -- and that the nesting bird had a much better feel for its position relative to the cabin than that hawk did. The impact must have been full-tilt, probably deceived by the reflection of the woods in the glass.

JoyDad and Uncle Marathon tried to toss an old army-blanket onto the hawk, to wrap it up and get it out of the house without any close encounters with beak or talons. But the hawk wasn't as injured as all of that. It kept escaping as the blanket came down. Then it flew into the loft. The guys ended up chasing it all around with a broom before they finally got it out the door. Then they had to use the broom for its intended purpose. There was glass everywhere, strewn all the way across the cabin floor and furniture.

We actually only had one night with a tarp nailed over where the window should be. GrampaK and Uncle Marathon went to town the next day, and despite the holiday weekend, found someone to cut a pane of glass to the right size. They brought it back unbroken over bumpy roads, puttied it in, and with any luck, it'll last sixty years like its predecessor.

As long as the hawks steer clear.

[Great big additional update!]
Great googly moogly, y'all. It wasn't a hawk after all. It was a ruffed grouse!!

Photo from

Huge tip of the hat and a low bow to Kelly's bird-enthusiast son, from the comments. Now that he pointed me in the right direction, I can see it: the chicken-like beak instead of the hooked raptor-beak, and the dark band of feathers (broken in the middle) at the end of the tail.

I guess this gives us all something to grouse about?! :-)


Niksmom said...

Holy cow! That's amazing. Glad no one was injured. I think I would've had a heart attack if that had happened while I was sitting in the room! LOL

K- floortime lite mama said...

love the pics you are sharing here and in the previous post

Anonymous said...

Oh My Hawk!

Anonymous said...

You do have a flair for writing, JM! So nice of JD's family to provide you with such good material! (Wanted to see a photo of the hawk. :( )

All's well...thank Goodness. And thanks for the true story!


JoyMama said...

Barbara -- the hawk photos are on Uncle Marathon's camera. If I acquire them, I will post!

Elizabeth Channel said...

Fantastic! Makes having a lost terrapin a'loose in your home seem like child's play!

One Mom said...

Amazing! Glad to hear everyone escaped unscathed.

Me said...

Oh Wow! That's quite the adventure!!

jess said...

holy heck that's a heck of an adventure. so glad no one was hurt!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful hawk!

Kelly said...

Yikes! I think I would have died (or at least passed out) on the spot, LOL.
(my bird loving son is reading over my shoulder and insists I point out that he thinks it's a Ruffed Grouse rather than a hawk)
No matter the species, that's a huge bird and quite a story to tell...glad no one was hurt!

JoyMama said...

Kelly -- I was kinda hoping someone would step up and identify what kind of "hawk" this was!! Tell your son that he's awesome -- I'll be updating the blogpost in a moment.

StatMama said...

Oh wow! Lovely bird...not such a lovely way of meeting it!

JoyDad said...

That was no grouse. I think it was a pterodactyl. It had these great big teeth, and claws as long as my forearm, and a wingspan that stretched as far as the eye could see. And really foul breath, no, it breathed fire as sure as I'm standing here. And it had a piercing scream that shook the cabin to its foundations and paralyzed the bravest of men with a wretched fear they won't soon forget.

Me and Uncle Marathon saved our entire family from certain death and dismemberment as we valiantly fought a pitched battle against the invading mega-raptor. Stories will be told and songs sung in our honor for generations to come.

Elizabeth Channel said...

Wow! Makes our lost terrapin adventure seem rather lackluster.

Glad nobody was hurt!

Anonymous said...

That's your story and you should stick to it, JD!