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Unusual encounter: Man gets close to hawk near Rollag

This red-tailed hawk allowed construction worker Jim Johnson to get unusually close to his perch on a Rollag house. Photo courtesy of Jim Johnson

A West Fargo man working on the roof of a home under construction near here Wednesday documented in photos his close encounter with a hawk.

Jim Johnson said the large bird first tried to land on the hand railing of the forklift he was operating and then flew up to the roof of the timber-frame house.

After Johnson moved to the roof, the bird came closer to him and another worker until it was less than 3 feet away.

“It’s so crazy that it wasn’t afraid of us,” said Johnson, adding, “It was unbelievable that it didn’t fly off.”

Johnson estimated the hawk to be about 2 feet high, with large talons.

The 59-year-old said he wasn’t scared, but looking at the talons, “I bet if they grabbed you they’d get you good,” he said.

North Dakota Game & Fish biologist Doug Leier said from looking at the pictures, it appears to be a red-tailed hawk.

Johnson said the bird stayed close, perched on the roof, for more than two hours.

“I would say that’s uncommon behavior,” said Leier, “but all animals are unique.”

Johnson said the sounds of pounding and an air gun the workers were using didn’t seem to scare the hawk.

And the bird wasn’t deaf either.

“I whistled and that got his attention,” said Johnson.

Johnson was in awe of the hawk, taking pictures from time to time.

“It was really amazing,” he said. “Beautiful bird.”

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