Some bond with dogs, but Dan Dinelli, the superintendent at
North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill., prefers his two
red-tailed hawks, Eyas, a 13-year-old male, and Merlyn
(pictured), 17, a female. The only licensed breeder of
red-tailed hawks in the U.S., Dinelli bristles when people call
his birds of prey pets. "That's a demeaning term," says Dinelli,
40. "Eyas and Merlyn are companions."
The hawks reign in the Dinelli household. When Dan and his wife,
Lori, moved in 1983, Merlyn got the master bedroom for three
months while Dan built a permanent home, a 200-square-foot shed
in the backyard. The Dinellis always take Eyas and Merlyn on
family vacations "It's not like you can take them to a kennel,"
says Dinelli. Each year they breed one to two chicks, which
Dinelli donates to institutions to promote hawk education. You
can find Dinelli-bred hawks at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.,
at the Minnesota Zoo near Minneapolis and at Walt Disney World
Hawks aren't cuddly like dogs, but they chirp like mad to show
affection. "When I take them to the golf course to exercise or
hunt," says Dinelli, "they always fly back to me."