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Franny Doolittle, Hawk Whisperer

06 Dec Posted by in Guest Writers | Comments Off on Franny Doolittle, Hawk Whisperer
Franny Doolittle, Hawk Whisperer

So this juvenile red tailed hawk flew into my friend’s house, straight through the garden door and into the living room. The hawk was perching up in the rafters and swooped down repeatedly crashing into the picture window, stunning herself and then trying again. Ouch! Poor baby.  I was alone at the time, just me and her two eldercats/alterkitties, who were small and bony enough to be hors d’oeuvres.  I called Animal Care & Control, but they were having a cray cray critter day. I was on my own.

By this time the bird was freaking out, and just wanted to be outside so badly that she sat on the windowsill longing for the comfort of a big cypress tree in the back yard, probably her nest. Its kind of a bird hang out and I’ve seen hawks whooshing around the tree quite often.

I was afraid she might really injure herself.  So, I calmed the hawk by saying soothing words like Safe, Friend, Trust, Love and Help.  I slowed my breathing down, (a trick I remember from calming horses) and made simple slow exhales, used my most calming voice.  The thing that surprised me was that I could visibly see that it helped the bird calm down, her breathing ratee slowed down.

After offering the hawk sticks and fishing poles as places to perch and be transported to the door, to no avail, I finally was able to coax her out by asking the Hawk to hop onto a pillow’s edge.  I carried the bird tai chi style so as to not make any jarring movements, bird floating on the edge of a pillow and over to the open door on the deck side of the house. She hesistated in the doorway, and I walked forward onto the deck, gently moving the pillow up and down so she could sense that feeling of falling, just before flight.

For a kid raised her whole life in cities, this whole thing was way beyond the scope of my experience. I think sometimes we humans know more about this stuff than we think. The strange thing is, I knew the beak and talons could have easily injured me, I even wrapped my arms and hands in towels, but when that did not work, I went bare handed and took precautions in other ways.  At no time did I feel anything except concern for the bird’s wellbeing and the desire to calm her and get her to where she wanted to go. If I could not trust the bird, how could I expect her to trust me?

Animal Medicine folktales say the hawk is a messenger from The Great Spirit, hmm.

Francesca Prada is an award winning producer, her projects have screened at over 70 international film festivals and have aired on PBS, Sundance, IFC and HBO among others.  In her, we find a graceful balance of artistic instincts and a mastery of business affairs— accountability, integrity, and fiscal responsibility.  When not making films, she produces award winning multilingual ad campaigns, and she also consults on script, production, marketing, and content strategy for media ventures.  Francesca’s blog:

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