The Henry And Henretta Hawk Story

A Story Of Two Red-Shouldered Hawks

Text and Photographs By

Bob Paty

Henry and Henretta


The marsh or wetlands as it is called, at the Blue Heron Water Reclamation Facilities in Titusville Florida is home to two Red-Shouldered Hawks. For this story we will call them in a less formal way, as Henry and Henretta Hawk. Exactly how long they have lived at the wetlands, neither the workers at the facility, nor the visitors to the wetlands know for sure. Nobody remembers how or when they got the names Henry and Henretta. Apparently the names sounded like good names for Red-Shouldered Hawks.

Frequently, Henry when talking to Henretta refers to the marsh as our marsh, Henretta quickly corrects him saying that the marsh was constructed by the humans before we came. Henry occasionally becomes irritated by the vehicles that drive around the marsh and tells Henretta that the humans should leave.

The two hawks live in the marsh all year, unlike many other birds of prey that only spend the winter in Florida. They have the marsh to themselves most of the time, except for Patty, a Marsh Hawk that frequents the marsh and hunts in the same area as the hawks. They have never had any issues with Patty and she only spends the winter in Florida. Two Bald Eagles from west of the place called The Great Outdoors frequently hunt over the marsh. They also spend the winter in Florida. The Bald Eagles make Henry and Henretta very nervous when they hunt the marsh. The two hawks find a place to hide when the Bald Eagles are overhead.
There is another Red-Shouldered Hawk, a young upstart named George, that hunts the marsh on occasion. He had eyes for Henretta, until Henry stepped in and informed him that if he came to the north end of the marsh again there would be trouble! Now George only hunts on the south portion of the marsh.

The two hawks spend a great deal of time hunting frogs, snakes and an occasional small bird. Their relationship is not always a bed of roses when either catches something and the other thinks they should share. A spat will resolve the possession. One day Henry found out that the humans cooked their food, Henretta could only explain that the humans were different.

When Henry and Henretta first met, with Henry it was love at first sight. He loved every thing about her, her beautifully colored feathers and how she carried herself when she flew. Henretta, on the other hand was not overly fond of Henry, he was smaller than she was, had drab feathers and was very shy. As time went by, Henretta became more and more impressed with Henry. He was a good hunter, a good nest builder and was very smart. She decided finally, that Henry would be the father of her baby hawks. As their relationship grew, Henretta became the more dominant one, she "ruled the roost" so to speak. Henry idolized Henretta, not to the point that it was, "Anything you say dear," or 'Yes, dear," but close to that.

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