Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good Day for a Run...Bad Day for a Hawk

Yesterday (Tues) I put one of my pet running theories to the test: namely, that I have some of my best runs ever when the weather is crappy.

Well, here in southern Penn's Woods, yesterday was the coldest day of the winter and probably the coldest day in 2 years.  Real air temp when I started the run was about 14F, warming to 18F at the end.  And the wind was howling out of the west at 15-20 steady, with higher gusts.

As I typically do for windy winter runs, I headed west into the wind to get that nasty part over first.  The run was a big rectangle of some 16 miles, so the first quarter was tough, but then the wind was either quartering or from behind.

I was dressed in my maximum wind chill outfit and actually was quite comfortable.  Running directly into the wind was unpleasant but doable, and it didn't last forever.  And I felt smooth and strong and happy, like I could run forever.  And I loved all the puzzled looks I got from drivers passing me!

There was one major downer early in the run--I found a dead hawk in a box beside the road.  It obviously had been tossed out of a vehicle, and the hawk spilled out of the open box.  To me it appeared the tail feathers had been removed, so I couldn't confirm my supposition that it was a red-tailed hawk.  Plus it was frozen and contorted, making ID difficult.  Nor could I note an obvious cause of death, for that matter--it may have been shot, or perhaps struck by a car and collected for its feathers. 

I'll leave that part to the authorities: when I got home I drove out to bring the bird and the box home and called the Dept of Natural Resources to report it, but the game warden has not yet contacted me.

The hawk was magnificent, even in death:

As found

The claws

The beak

Such a sad thing.  I also was amazed as just how light the hawk's body was--maybe a couple pounds at most.

So, back to the overall theme here.  Bottom line is not to hibernate when the weather, by any objective standard, sucks.  Get out there and run--you will be happy you did.


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