Friday, February 27, 2009

Bird of prey

A couple of days ago I was getting the girls in the car to take them to school, when we noticed a bunch of feathers on the lawn. Maybe a neighborhood cat caught a bird. I did not give it much thought.

At that moment, my next door neighbor came out to tell me that the day before she had seen a hawk on our front lawn, with a bloody, dead dove in its claws. When it saw her, the hawk quickly took flight, leaving behind the feathers I had seen, evidence of its carnage. It was quite a large bird and my neighbor was shocked to see it in our neighborhood.

I was surprised too, but upon further thought I should not be. There are patches of undeveloped land in our area. Just as there are deer grazing across the street from my daughter's school and in the patch of trees next to my youngest's daycare center, there are hawks preying on the denizens of our front yard birdfeeder.

My oldest daughter was upset that a dove had been killed. Stupid hawk! - she said.

Circle of life - is all I said. Circle of life indeed. When we put a bird feeder out there, the idea of our front lawn being turned into a buffet for the local bird of prey was far from our minds. But you can't hold it against the poor hawk. He needs to eat too.


  1. I always had a really hard time with our cats preying on the precious little rabbits at our farm too, and leaving us grizzly reminders. But yes, this is the way life works, and the animals are doing what they instictively must do - kill to survive. (It's still gross though! :-)

  2. I'd say I can remember when things like that used to upset me, but the truth is they still do. I will still bury whatever I find left over from a predator's feast because some part of me says, "This bird has now been loved, even if he never knew it." Not that a bird would even want a burial... probably would think humans are strange for burying our dead even if you could explain it to him. But it's all I know to do.

    At the same time, things like that are how I learned to appreciate that living things die so I can live. I eat meat... animals die for that. Even if I were a vegetarian, plants would die for me to eat. I don't think about it every time I eat, but it's an awareness I have in the back of my mind. It doesn't make me feel guilty. It makes me appreciate the food more, and I think it gives me a nudge to DO something in life when I do stop and think about it. If other living things die so that I can live, I dishonor them if I don't make the most of my life.

    And I just can't imagine having to live in any other kind of environment. My husband has told me how the city he grew up in is paved over and all the "wildlife" they ever saw were pigeons and a few squirrels. I can see ten different species of bird on a busy day at my bird feeder, plus possums, raccoons, deer, lizards... and all while still living with the comforts of "city life". It's a wonderful balance.

  3. Wow a HAWK right in your front yard? Thats amazing.