H is for Hawk: A New Chapter

H is for Hawk: A New Chapter

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 8:00pm

Helen Macdonald holding a young goshawk chick that has just been ringed.

Credit: Courtesy of George Woodcock/©Mike Birkhead Associates

After the unexpected death of her photojournalist father, Helen Macdonald overcame her grief by training an adult goshawk, one of nature’s most notoriously wild and free-spirited birds of prey.

Macdonald had trained birds before, but never this raptor which she named Mabel. Macdonald found healing in that cathartic experience which became the basis for her 2014 international best-selling memoir H Is for Hawk. Now, 10 years after she trained Mabel (who died of untreatable infection just before the author finished writing her book), Macdonald is ready to take on the challenge again, prompted by watching how a pair of wild goshawks reared their chicks in an English forest. This Nature film accompanies her on visits to the pair’s nest to observe the latest developments and follows Macdonald’s emotional and intimate journey as she adopts a young goshawk and attempts to raise it as her own: feeding, nurturing, and training her new charge in the hopes the months of preparation will culminate in a successful first free flight. H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter airs Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.