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Harris' hawk duo share bond with Apache Junction family

Kassie and Taylor Duke moved into a house in January, not knowing they'd form an apparent bond with a pair of Harris' Hawks in their backyard.

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. — In the tall pine tree in the backyard toward one of the upper branches, sits one hawk. 

It's one of the places it usually perches, Kassie and Taylor Duke said. This hawk is the bigger of the two that visit them,

"The bigger one seems to be more friendly with us," Kassie Duke said. 

The Dukes moved into the Apache Junction home back in January, and a few weeks later noticed the pair of Harris' Hawks hanging around in a nest of a neighbor's tree.  

"When we first moved here we were trying to figure out what all the screaming was," Kassie Duke said. "We weren't expecting that at all."

That "screaming" sound is an excellent way to describe how the birds communicate and use it to call back to the couple.

"You can wave at it," Kassie said. "I don't think that'll happen today, but it'll kind of put its wing up just like ever so slightly, the little head bobs at us and stuff." 

Two months ago, they brought their son home to their house and the hawks noticed too. 

"It started like bowing," Kassie Duke said. "I don’t know what that was all about, but it was super happy to see us and it was going up and down and up and down so and he seemed happy he was out of me." 

Kassie and Taylor are no strangers to birds, having rescued some from time to time in the past.

"We’ve tried to save a lot of woodpeckers, little Gila woodpeckers and stuff that even showed up at our apartments," Taylor Duke said. 

"I almost wonder if somebody had (the hawk) as a baby and let it go at one point," Kassie said. "Because it’s not scared of us, it’s not territorial, it doesn’t want to fight us or anything."

However, there is one thing they could live without the birds leaving on their doorstep.

"It's normally just a whole bird by the door," Kassie said. "I think it's trying to feed us or something." 

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