The Unfortunate Hawk

Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

© Copyright 2021 by 
Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha

Photo of a hawk.

Who would have thought that a predatory creature that maintains a very far distance altitude in the sky, a raptor whose normal routine is to soar higher even above the tallest trees could be caught with bare hands without the aid of traps, or struck with any sort of weapon specifically designed for itís hunt.

Even the usual prophesies of prophets and prophetesses could not have convinced me of the possibility of waking up one morning to capture a wild bird; of course, like any other person who is knowledgeable of the unique qualities of wild birds, especially as it concerns those that ravish on other terrestrial birds or creatures, I would have considered such prophesies as false declarations, by false prophets and prophetesses.

The hawk had always been a bird along side itís kinds, that I had long admired since child hood. It had always been my pleasure in the company of other children to always look up to the sky, and let out some words, or even chant songs in admiration of the wild birds, as they display their flying prowess with ease far above in the sky, randomly roaming about like they own the space.

It was on a Saturday morning, the normal routine of waking up and getting busy with one domestic activity or the other was not overlooked in my case, as the situation of things in my family demands such.

After the morning devotion in the living room which lasted for about an hour, I had stepped out into the compound, with one of my favorite cousins who visited the day before. She had suggested we sweep the compound together, as she enjoyed my company, even though we were fond of each other, of course I concurred to her demands.

As we swept the sandy compound and laughed amidst funny discussions, I noticed the growling of a cock and a mother hen, which was quite distance away from where I was at that moment. In response to the sounds, the chicks belonging to the hen displayed their smartness by running towards different directions for safety.

At first I showed no concern over the display by the innocent creatures, even though I was aware of the reason for their actions which in some cases demands the assistance of their keepers.

I was still discussing with my cousin who had been taking over by laughter over what I said in response to what she said to me, suddenly, I heard a loud sound at the back of my house, I left what I was doing and quickly rushed to know what it was, my cousin followed behind me at once. On getting to the back of the house, where the sudden loud sound came from, we undeniably became astonished at what I considered an amazing sight.

I quickly glanced at my company, before I could say a word, my cousin had bolted out from where we stood, and had gone in search of a stick, with which to either kill or weaken the unintentionally trapped devourer.

It was one of the merciless raptors, bloodthirsty snatchers, those murderous thieves that are always bent on rendering our mother hens childless with no consideration; Even when the pitiable voice of a grabbed chick deafens their ears as they ascend the sky in the strong grip of their cruel claws.

Some how, I summoned the courage to lodge forward towards the trapped hawk, with the intention to rather grab it with my hands.

As soon as I got closer to the cage, whose upper parts was built with iron nets, I noticed itís claws where stuck to the nets, then I concluded that; ďones weapon can also be his enemy, if not used with care.Ē I quickened my steps towards the hawk, for I feared I might lose it if I entertained any delay.

On seeing me as I approached, the creature struggled fervently to pull out from its hold, but unfortunately all efforts proved abortive as its claws were strongly trapped among the perforates.

I moved quickly, and grabbed it by it's two wings, by then my cousin had arrived with a stick, but calmed his nerves the moment he saw the hawk had been captured. I could still remember his words in Igbo language: ďThe captor of hawk with bare handsĒ as I was walking out from the cage with the hawk tightly held in my right hand after releasing it from the unintentional trap.

I should not forget the attitude put up by both man and animal the moment I walked into the main compound with the hawk; my aunt who had just finished brushing her teeth, and was entering inside the house sighted the hawk in my hands as I emerged from the back, in amazement she stood and gazed intensely at the creature in my hands, as if to confirm what she saw from a distance, she walked slowly towards me with her mouth slightly open. The look on her face was obviously that of a bewildered person, my aunt exclaimed with a loud voice in Igbo language: ďhey it's a hawk o!Ē the moment she was sure her eyes were not playing tricks on her. She quickly ran into the house, laying the news bare to other family members who cared to hear her.

On the other hand, as I waited patiently under a guava tree for my cousin who I had sent to get a rope with which to tether the hawk to the tree in the compound, I noticed the anxious moves by the chickens in the compound, which indicated they had knowledge of the presence of their potential enemy. The younger chickens, and chicks were griped with fear, so they maintained there distance for safety, while the bigger hens, and cocks let out a loud snarl, some of them who seemed bold moved around where I stood in wait for my cousin, as if waiting for me to drop their enemy on the ground so they could unleash their long kept anger on it.

My cousin arrived with a rope, he was followed by few other family members who obviously expressed their surprises in words, and actions as they beheld the wild bird; they could not help throwing questions at me, as they longed to know how I succeeded in catching the almost untouchable bird.

Later that same day, my compound was littered by especially kids, and few adults who desired to see my captive. The hawk who could not bare the sight of the onlookers, struggled to fly away, but was unfortunately drawn back by the rope tied to it's legs.

At every efforts made by the hawk to escape, the children laughed and made jest of it excitingly, the elderly women who had probably suffered loss of their chicks to the cruel claws of hawks, mocked and rained abuses on the unfortunate hawk, who stared helplessly at the activities put up by the people for itís sake.

Later, I decided to fetch it some grain chaff after everyone has left, but the hawk made no possible attempt to even near it. My cousin suggested I force the supposed feed into itís mouth, which I tried after wards, but the angry wild bird forth hard as it rejected the feed.

After much effort to cause the hawk eat the feed turned fruitless, I decided to hunt for a lizard, hoping it will accept the reptile, since itís a carnivorous. I set out hunting for a lizard, minutes later I succeeded in capturing one. I used broom on the lizard, as I intend to weaken, and not to kill it, since the wild bird is an expert to that.

Unfortunately, the hawk refused to take the weakened lizard, which was lying helpless at it's mercy, then I knew it had lost every appetite for even itís favorites. Even as I pitied the creature, I got annoyed, and left it under the guava tree for other businesses of the day.

Chukwuebuka C. Oguocha is a creative novelist, poet, a motivational, and inspirational content writer, and also a movie script writer. He is the author of the childrenís fiction 'Happy at Last.í He hails from Ngodo, Nise, in Awka south of Anambra state. He is a HND holder in library and information science, from Federal polytechnic Oko, Anambra state, Nigeria.

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