Baker's Hawk Author:Jack M. Bickham INSIDE FLAP — The passage from childhood to maturity is difficult at best, and for eleven-year-old Billy Baker it was a time for questioning all the values he'd been taught to live by as a farm boy in the Colorado of the 1880's. It was a time for viewing neighbors, friends, and particularly his father through eyes no longer filled with awe. And s... more »omehow the doubts and fears afflicting the boy found an outlet in the injured red-tailed hawk that Billy was raising as his own. "Baker's Hawk" was the runt of the nest, and it was only by chance that Billy had been able to rescue it from death in the jaws of a fox. Yet that chance had been the beginning of a friendship with a secretive old mountain man that seemed to grow each day as the two nursed the baby hawk into a proud adult bird, training it to perch on an arm, to fly and return, to respond to a homemade whistle. And when that gentle friendship is threatened by unthinking violence, Billy's doubts about his father are suddenly resolved in the dramatic confrontation that climaxes this moving tale of a young boy's first steps toward manhood.
FROM THE BACK COVER
Billy put the glove and gauntlet on his right arm, then walked very slowly up to the hawk on its perch. The hawk pivoted his head to watch him, unblinking.
Sweat stinging his eyes, Billy unstrapped the jesses from their perch swivels. This left over a foot of twin leather lines attached to the hawk's legs, and these he twisted around his thumb and pinched inside his palm to make absolutely sure that the bird would not get away if it panicked and tried to fly.
The hawk watched the operation with interest but made no move.
Billy held his arm out in front of the hawk's chest and legs, and moved it toward the legs, planning to nudge them gently. It wasn't even necessary. The hawk stepped onto the gloved arm with perfect ease and calm.
Holding his breath, Billy walked across the yard. He was so proud he felt as if he were going to just blow up and go all over the sky in pieces. The hawk looked with interest, but rode the arm as if they had been doing it for years. This was what having a hawk was all about, he thought with a thrill. In the weight and the slight, living tension of talons on heavy leather gloves there was communication. He didn't have to look at the hawk. The hawk did not have to be able to speak or even signal. They knew each other. They were partners right in this very instant, and they both understood it.« less