Mason woman rescues hawk from pool

  • Cortnie Langley of Mason rescued a young hawk from her swimming pool last week. Courtesy photo

  • Cortnie Langley of Mason rescued a young hawk from her swimming pool last week. Courtesy photo—

  • Cortnie Langley of Mason rescued a young hawk from her swimming pool last week. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/10/2021 4:46:45 PM

Cortnie Langley returned home early by chance last week, to prepare for a doctor’s appointment. It was lucky timing for a young hawk she found trapped in her pool.

“I came home early and it was just in my pool. It was lucky for both of us,” Langley said.

Langley and her partner Nate Choquette only moved to Mason in October 2020, for a more rural lifestyle for their daughter and to start Rustic Wolf Farm, a long-time dream of Choquette’s. So their pool is under construction and hasn’t been used in several years, Langley said. The hawk may have been trying to get a drink, or hunting for one of the frogs and salamanders that have taken up residence in the water.

When Langley found it, the hawk was floating in the water, unable to get over the foot-wide gap between the water and the edge of the pool. She knew she had to save it, but the better question was – how?

Langley said she attempted to find some sticks for the hawk to perch on, but couldn’t find anything sturdy enough. Eventually, she said, she gave in to the inevitable and just used her bare hands, eventually getting the hawk to perch on her arm.

“I felt comfortable that he knew I was trying to help him,” Langley said.

Langley said she grew up in a rural area of Massachusetts, and has always had an appreciation for wildlife. She said she was the type of girl to pick up snakes and bugs, and when it came to doing nothing, or picking up the hawk with her hands, she didn’t over think it.

“I didn’t really think of what it would mean until I did it,” Langley said.

Then, she said, came a long period when the hawk, exhausted and wet, simply hung out on her arm for about 20 minutes.

“We basically had a stare-down for 19 of those 20 minutes,” Langley said. “He was soaked to the bone and I think he just wanted to regain his strength.”

Langley said she was wearing a lined rain jacket, but the hawk was remarkably gentle, and while it left some small marks on her arm, it didn’t break the skin. Still, she said, she attempted to get him to settle on another perch to recover, but said it was uninterested in leaving her arm.

“I guess he was comfortable where he was,” Langley said. “I was fearing he was going to gouge my eyes out. He was about a foot from my face, and this is a giant bird of prey.”

The hawk stayed with Langley long enough for her to take some photos and video, and to call her partner and warn him that when he got home with their daughter, she would have a giant bird on her arm.

It was only at the arrival of her daughter and partner that the hawk decided it had had enough, and took off. Langley said he appeared uninjured, and had just required the time to rest.

She said while she’s spotted many types of wildlife since her move to Mason, this is certainly the most intimate.

As she told her camera while filming the encounter, “Only in New Hampshire!”

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.

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