We get assignments like this one every now and then. Cat stuck in a tree, puppies in a drain pipe, the occasional bear in a neighborhood, yaddah, yaddah.
After the mountain lion in Santa Monica a few weeks ago, I maybe should have been on my guard.
If you look closely, it should be easy enough to spot the hawk sitting in the tree. We'd gotten a call from people who claimed the hawk was being aggressive and actually attacking people.
That's how I found myself driving my news van with a reporter to the Long Beach neighborhood where the hawk had taken up residence.
I don't have many photos, so I'll just tell you what happened. We pull up on the street and get out of the van. My reporter starts walking towards a guy standing halfway down the block and I walk over to the side doors of the news van to grab my camera.
I'm pretty mellow. These stories don't always pan out. Sometimes the animal has already left the neighborhood.
That wasn't the case this time.
So, I hear yelling. I see my reporter is running back to the van and I see the hawk swooping down towards her. It swoops over her head and now it's heading towards me.
I cuss. I cuss like a sailor. F-bombs are flying out my mouth. The hawk swoops past me. Not really close, but low like it means to do some harm.
You know, I can tell this isn't going to be one of those stories that don't pan out.
My reporter and I are both laughing. Not ha-ha, funny laughter. The kind of laughter that people who just dodged a bullet type of laughter.
It looked angry. I believe the hawk tried to kill us.
Animal control came out and talked to us and the folks from the neighborhood had a great time while we were there. There was no shortage of people willing to let the hawk chase them for the benefit of being on camera.
The animal control folks assured us that the hawk was just being protective while it was nesting. It would likely leave people alone if nobody bothered it. We heard from neighbors that it was neighborhood kids throwing rocks at it that got it all worked up in the first place.
If that's the case, then I'm totally on the hawk's side. I mean, who wouldn't be mad?
One last thing, my reporter claims I screamed like a cheerleader. If that's true, then my reporter obviously can't tell the difference between a cry of fear (like hers) and a completely fearless battle cry meant to scare off the hawk and thereby save her from harm.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.