What I did at work today!
At the early morning meeting I was invited by the manager of the DFW radar tech department (Billy) to visit a Doppler weather radar site. The weather was quite nice, and it seemed a better option then sitting in a dark room all day. Again.
Arriving at the site it became apparent the real point of the visit was to show me the “guests” the radar techs had been protecting since the middle of March. On the very top landing, just below the dome was a gigantic nest, roughly the size of a kitchen table. Even from the ground it was very apparent it had been built with great skill; not twigs for material but rather branches and small tree trunks.
The climb up was, by itself, a little nerve racking. Each step is very narrow, plus the pitch is seriously steep. It’s imperative to look down to ensure proper foot placement on the rungs, and since the material is “lightened” steel you basically look past your big toe at the ground. Which, by the way, seems hundreds of feet away, but is likely closer to 20.
At the last of four sets of steps the screeching starts. Not quite ready to fly yet, the Red-Tail Hawk “chicks” are staring right at you, in a leaning forward fashion that seems to convey that they only got half of the “fight or flight” formula explained to them. Of course, maybe since they can’t quite manage flight yet the choice was more deliberate. At any rate, from 15 feet they convinced me completely they would love nothing more than a serving of fresh human fingers. These are BIG birds, with wing spans of about 3 1\2 feet.
Oh, and than there’s Mom and Dad. Each swooping in from different directions, often getting very close, especially from behind. While I was taking these pictures Billy would announce (casually I might add) “At your 6”, indicating a parent was trying to grab the back of my cranium. Fortunately, the tower structure prevented them from carrying me away like a hobbit. In the midst of this excitement, each of the 4 birds were taking turns screeching. Not in what seemed a random pattern but rather in a manner that might construe strategy.
When originally discovered they were still three unhatched eggs. The radar techs protected the site, and the nest, watching the birds over a 7-week period grow to what I was able to photograph today. Mighty cool.
When we were heading back to the vehicle Mom and Dad never took their eyes off of us, and stared us down til we were finally out of sight.
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