• Dale Bowman

Flying the Coop: Ramble with the Lady

The Cooper's hawks, which fledged at the end of July from the maple in the church yard down the street, are gone.

And with them flying the coop, so to speak, a lot of racket has left the neighborhood.

It was hard to miss their calling, which I think I accurately described as sounding like loud mewing.

As we filled up gas at Casey's a couple weeks ago, the neighbor woman, a couple houses down, asked me what were the birds making all the racket.

I told her they were Cooper's hawks fledging and learning about the world that awatis them.

With any luck in life, you never stop learning to about the world out there.

For the young Cooper's hawks, it was learning to fly to any high point in the neighborhood--roof peaks, antennas, tree tops, church belfries--then making all kinds of rackets, which, at least to me, sounded for all the world like a kid yelling, ``Look what I did.''

Our second son was so intrigued a couple Sundays ago that he stopped and snapped the photo of one young hawk in a driveway, just standing there surveying his world by the edge of a puddle. And our son texted it to me.

``Fly the coop,'' BTW, means ``To "fly the coop" either means to grow old enough to leave the house of one's parents or in the state of being far to cool or above the current predicament that one find themselves in and find it necessary to leave immediately,'' according to

Of course, at least for me, that takes me to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and Sox broadcaster Ken ``Hawk'' Harrelson. My mind does strange things, connects strange things.

I digress.

Not a single dove was cooing when Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled off this morning.

Doves disappeared the last few weeks.

A free-ranging house cat, one of those slaughtering machines, bolted a block from home when we started off.

As usual, I was tempted to let Lady have a go, but I restrained myself.

Once we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I did find some doves, very young and dumb ones, fluttering around the bushes and trees nera the bridge over the neckdown between the two old clays pits and on the east side of both pits.

That was it for dove sightings.

A few big fish, which I cannot ID, again surfaced near shore on both pits. Not sure what is going on with that.

Back on the edge of town, seven barn pigeons wheeled very high above the grain elevators.

As we neared home, Lady crouched and began stalking a gray squirrel blisffully ambling down the sidewalk. Then it spotted us and decided to step lively.

Stepping lively is the way to stay alive. On many levels.

By the time we reached home, the sun was up and there were a few doves cooing across and down the street.

A lone gray squirrel played in the middle of the street.

Life stirred as the heat built on a September day.

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