I want to tell you a story, it is a true story, and those who believe will believe, those who don't won't.


On the way to the Sundance in 1992, my husband at the time, had a vision. He said he knew it was a vision and not a dream, because at the time it happened he was driving the car along Route 90, so his eyes had to have been open! He saw himself lift his arm up and a Hawk landed on it. That was it, just that.

When we arrived at the Sundance grounds we said 'hello' to all and sundry and went off to set up our camping area. I put up my hand to reach the top of the tent and a butterfly landed on it. Now butterflies are pretty timid, and fly off at the move of the hand, not this one, no sirree. It stayed, on my hand, my arm, my leg, my head, you name it and it alighted there..... Eventually we put the tent up, with great difficulty on my part, because it's not easy holding this and moving that while trying not to harm so fragile an insect. My family thought this was hilarious. After about 10 minutes and without a good-bye the creature took it's leave of me. I didn't even see it go, it just wasn't there anymore.
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Couple of days later, I was walking back into camp, when my son Andrew, called for me to see what he had. This I did not believe. He had been playing touch football with a few kids and saw a dragonfly on the ground, he went to move it so it didn't get harmed, and instead of flying off it had crawled onto his hand and stayed there. He had been walking around for at least 5 minutes with this wonderful insect on his hand. There was nothing wrong with it, no injuries, at least that I could see, so why did it stay? In case you don't know one of my nature names is Dragonfly, and one of my familiars is this small creature. I think that my son was in danger and so my spiritual friend looked after him in my absence, to ensure his safety, because as soon as I arrived and put my hand next to my son's, it put one tiny foot onto my hand, wiggled it's head, and flew off. It circled us a couple of times and then this turquoise beauty disappeared into the Minnesota sky. After these two happenings my ex was saying, 'It was me that was supposed to have a hawk on my arm, yet you two have each had a wonder of nature visit you'. I felt sorry for him at the time.

Written by Gloria Hazell 1992©

The next day there was a tremendous thunder-storm, we showered, half clothed, and washed our hair in it, it was great. After the storm clouds had passed we were watching the clouds for patterns and at one point noticed the same thing. I thought it was an eagle in flight, my ex thought it was an owl. We watched it until it had made it's way out of the area.

After the Sundance we decided to go over to South Dakota to see where 'Dances with Wolves' was filmed, so we headed for Pierre, but we were pulled over for speeding. They made us take out all of our belongings, even my Pipe, which is a Sacred item. Because we had newly picked sage drying on the dash, they said it was cannabis, so we must have had more drugs in the car. Now those who know what sage looks like also know it looks nothing like pot. Those who know us also know we have never touched anything stronger than tobacco in a Pipe. Well anyway, I digress, because of the treatment we received there I no longer wanted to stay in that red-necked area, so we headed north to Bismarck, North Dakota. Along the road I saw what I thought was an eagle, sitting on a bale of hay by the side of the road. We stopped. My ex thought it was an owl. I went over to it and it jumped off to the back of the bale, yes it jumped off!  I followed taking pictures all the while, waiting for it to take flight...hadn't I learned by this time!  I realized that there was something completely wrong with this bird so kept edging towards it, until I was sitting next to it talking to it. It looked like it had an injured wing, which is why I thought it hadn't flown away. I told it that it needed help and if it would allow me I would take it to get that help. It didn't say 'No way' so I picked it up in a towel that Andrew had bought over to me, and off we went. Now at this time I felt I was dreaming, here I was sitting on the front seat of the car with a bird of prey on my lap, and it was so contented that it fell asleep as we were travelling. No kidding!

We arrived at our friend's house in Bismarck, he is by the way my adopted Dakota brother, and he is a Sundancer. We hoped that he would know of someplace to take 'Birdie' but he didn't. We spent the next two nights in a room with this bird, I awoke one time and there he was just watching me. After staying for a couple of days we set off back to Jersey, with Birdie firmly placed between us on the front seat again, enjoying the view! By this time we realized that this was no ordinary wild bird, he was tame.

Back in New Jersey, we looked into where we could take our friend, and were directed to the Raptor Center in north Jersey. We took him there, where we were told that he was the sorriest looking bird that they had seen in their 30 years of dealing with raptors. Other than being malnourished, and having feather mites, and hardly any tail feathers, they said he was fine, and they would care for him. He was around 18 months old, and of course tame. We felt better at that point because they will try to rehabilitate him to be wild, and if they can't do that they will use him in their education program.

Is that the end of the story you may ask? well not quite, I forgot to tell you that in North Dakota, my ex's vision came true, Birdie landed on his arm, because that was the only place he would eat food from, and in case you hadn't guessed our friend was a Red Tailed Hawk.

Birdie 1992 © Gloria Hazell

This is one of the photos I took of Birdie as I approached him, I was pretty close at this point. You can see one red tail feather showing, that's about all he had. as you can also see he was a sorry looking friend. Read on for the final chapter of Birdie.

Written by Gloria Hazell 1992©

Birdie -Final Chapter

Before we left New Jersey in August '93, we contacted the Raptor Trust where Birdie was recuperating to see if he had been set free. they said that he was still there, ready to be released and that if we wanted to we could come over and set him free. Was that an understatement! Our wish when we found him the previous year was to see him flying in the wild again.

We arrived at the Trust at lunch time and watched another couple of hawks take flight, except they didn't, they only flew a few feet then sat down and refused to move. This was a disappointment to everyone, especially a photographer from the Philadelphia Inquirer who had hoped to get a picture of a release. Dr. Soucy told him that Birdie would definitely fly and to come out when it was his turn. We went into the large flight cage with the staff and I could tell which Red Tail was our friend by the way he held his wings, one was much lower than the other. They expertly caught him and banded his leg, then they handed a glove and Birdie to my ex. we were caught unawares by this because we had assumed that they would carry him to the release spot. No way. So for a few moments we had the honor of being with our spiritual friend once again.

As we walked along we were speaking to Birdie, and he appeared to be listening, he looked at me and his eyes seemed to say, 'I know you, you're the one who helped me.' He didn't struggle at all but at one point he spread his wings for us to see and he is magnificent now. What a difference from when I found him, a bedraggled, skinny bird with hardly any feathers to speak of. The Raptor Trust did a wonderful job of healing and training him and we are so grateful to them for all of their care of Dakota. (Their name for him.)

This moment was one of emotions, we wanted so much to see this wonderful creature fly, to be in his natural state, but we were worried in case he did the same as the previous birds and of course we knew this would be the end of our relationship with Birdie. We said our good-bye's and the next thing I knew I could hear the Doctor yelling, 'Up, Dakota, up,' and there was Birdie in the sky. He flew, he really flew and as he did so he dropped a small feather onto us. He went high then came lower and landed on a dead tree top where he sat and waited. The tree was the one that many of the birds use when they are released. They get their bearings and get used to their freedom before they set off on their journey. We waited and waited for him to go and it was as if he was waiting for us to go too. So we did. Our last sight of Birdie was of him watching us as we set off on our journey.

The end? Not quite. On our drive to Minnesota which took a few days as we visited on the way, we had a couple of things happen. First every morning a Red Tailed Hawk would fly in front of the car, swooping low to show it's wing power. we wondered, 'Is it Birdie?' On the last day it hadn't shown itself and by this time we were used to the daily display, so all of us pondered where it was. When we got to the final left turn before the new house I noticed a haystack, just like the one where I had spotted Birdie, and would you believe it there was a Red Tailed Hawk sitting on top of it. I was amazed. It could have been the same scenario again, except this time the bird's back was to us, as if to say, 'Thanks guys I'm doing fine now and I don't need help this time.' It was eerie and it doesn't stop quite there... We got to the new house and I walked into the garage and went over to the window to peek out and there stuck in the window ledge was a feather, I pulled it out and guess what? Yep, it was a Hawk's feather. I guess it was a gift.

A P.S. .... The day that we moved into the new house was one year exactly to the day when we found Birdie on that South Dakota back road. Full Circle......


Somewhere I have a photo of me with Birdie, if ever I find it I will add it to this page...

Written by Gloria Hazell 1993©


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