Immature red-tailed hawk on Sargeant Street

I like to take different routes to work because I feel like it invites discovery.

On Wednesday morning I decided to take a spin by the old Parsons Paper Mill site on Sargeant Street. Nearly a decade after a fire destroyed much of the mill, a neighboring business is expanding onto the site. The tangle of brick and machine left in the wake of the fire is now just flat dirt.

That expanse of dirt was what caught my eye. The last time I’d been by, the demolition work was still in progress.

But then I noticed something else — a bird, a large one, flapping around atop the fence that rings the site. It was an immature red-tailed hawk.

After a few minutes of watching, I realized it was hunting. A handful of sparrows huddled in a patch of ivy woven through the fence. The hawk knew they were there, but couldn’t get to them.

I never did find the neighborhood red-tailed hawk nest this year, so I wondered if this hawk could be from their brood. Or if it was from this year’s brood at the MacKenzie Field nest, or if it was from another nest in the city I haven’t discovered, or if it was an individual just passing through on migration.

A man in an electric wheelchair pulled up and we watched the hawk together and I made these photographs.

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