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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.

I. Specimen Days

143. An Unknown

June 15.—TO-DAY I noticed a new large bird, size of a nearly grown hen—a haughty, white-bodied dark-wing’d hawk—I suppose a hawk from his bill and general look—only he had a clear, loud, quite musical, sort of bell-like call, which he repeated again and again, at intervals, from a lofty dead tree-top, overhanging the water. Sat there a long time, and I on the opposite bank watching him. Then he darted down, skimming pretty close to the stream—rose slowly, a magnificent sight, and sail’d with steady wide-spread wings, no flapping at all, up and down the pond two or three times, near me, in circles in clear sight, as if for my delectation. Once he came quite close over my head; I saw plainly his hook’d bill and hard restless eyes.