A Handful Of Hawk

Sebastian Zarkower, 6, of St. Paul, ponders a sharp-shinned hawk. (Sam Cook photo)

The west wind was pushing hawks toward Duluth’s Hawk Ridge on Sunday. Lots of folks were on hand to see a few kettles (spiraling groups) of broad-winged hawks, a few bald eagles and lots of sharp-shinned hawks. The banders captured many sharpshins, and naturalists brought them to the main overlook where visitors could get a close look at them.

The family of 6-year-old Sebastian Zarkower of St. Paul adopted one of the sharpshins for $20, so Sebastian got to release it. He carefully took it from a naturalist and held it for a few photos. It was an immature sharpshin, hatched just this year. At 3 months old, it was embarking on its first migration. Sebastian said he had some concern about holding the hawk.

“I felt like it was going to bite me almost,” he said.

At a count of three, he tossed it skyward and let go. The bird quickly lifted over the shrubs and small trees at Hawk Ridge and headed southwest.

“I thought it was going to dive-bomb,” Sebastian said.

Any day with a westerly wind is a good day to visit Hawk Ridge, and the peak of the migration is approaching. The main overlook one mile east of Glenwood Street on Skyline Parkway.