Twas the night before Christmas, when all across the mountain
Not a raptor was stirring and no one was a-countin’!
The Vultures were hanging on the rails without care
In hopes that a Hawkwatcher soon would be there.
The Red Tails were nestled all snug in their trees
While visions of meadow voles danced in the breeze
(Which was a Beaufort of three or possibly four
And out of the Northwest – Who could ask for more!)
The ravens were flying, barrel rolling with jive!
The moon was full, with visibility a five……
When out of the Northeast there arose such a clatter
Every creature looked up to see what was the matter.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight Hawkwatchers in gear.
With a little old driver, so lively a knave,
It was clear in a moment it must be Saint Dave!
As rapid as Eagles, his coursers they came
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Gibsons! Now Kirk! Now David B. and Katie!
On Dillard! On Carl! On Joyce, Milady!
On Leader, On Founder, You have to carry ‘em,
They’re a heavy load, but - On Myriam!
To the top of the mountain! To Harvey’s, Heed the call!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
“As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So do the hawks” said Saint Dave, “in migration.
They grace this spot, depending on precipitation,
Thermals, dew point and other weather factors.
They all contribute to the counter seeing raptors.”
The sleigh came to rest on the Overlook floor,
And from the Southwest came another great roar:
A bus appeared and from the moon-lit sky fell,
With sleepy-eyed Hawkwatchers, saying: “What the Hell?”
“Here is your Christmas present” said Old Saint Dave
And to each a gold and silver counter he gave.
“But this counter is incredible” said all the counting crew
“It goes all the way up into the millions or two!”
“You can’t count that many hawks!” said Deadeye Mike Crowder
“I can! I can” said Matt and Phillip both getting louder.
Teresa said: “There must be more to this story”
“Indeed!” said the Goffs, “Indeed” echoed Cory.
The Wefels starting counting, Kathy B. and Eunice too,
Quinns, Austins, Williams, Tuckers – their thumbs turning blue.
Mike Purdy, Allen Miller – they were clicking like mad
But counting nothing and Darryl said: “This is sad.”
And says Andy to them all: ”This is very, very crazy!”
Adds Barry to the clicking: “Anyone want gravy?”
Said Saint Dave to the crowd: “I’m glad I’ve brought you joy
With this little trinket – this little counting toy.
But what do you do here? What’s the good of your eye?”
And with that cue, they one and all looked up high
And beheld a river of raptors in lines through the sky:
Every hawk that did or would ever fly.
No clickers were clicking, open each mouth
As the river ran from the North and the South.
“This is the circle of migration that you all will make”
Said the Saint to them all “And now you must awake!”
On Christmas morning, each one awoke with awe
At the dream they had had, the river they saw.
Each had a memory of resounding words that night:
“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good flight!”