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Sunday, March 26, 2006
Predators and Prey
I had a great opportunity yesterday to be present at the release into the wild of a rehabilitated red-tailed hawk. The bird had been hit by a car several weeks previously and had had to have surgery to pin its wing back together. After several weeks in “hawk ICU” the bird was well, recuperated, and ready to go back to the wild. I was invited by the rehabilitators to watch as they released the bird and I gladly accepted because it was such a unique event.

Prior to release, the bird was transported to a rural area in a cardboard pet carrier. To say this large bird of prey with a wingspan of about three feet didn’t like being cooped up in a box was an understatement. The bird was mad! Upon arrival at the release site, the box was opened and pointed away from the crowd (so no one ended up with a face full of mad red-tailed hawk). The bird jumped out, took two running steps and flew to a nearby chestnut tree.

It perched on a large branch and looked around at the new surroundings. After several weeks in a small cage, the sense of freedom must have been delicious. She sat on the branch looking at everything around her and casting disparaging glares back at us humans every few minutes. After about five minutes, the other feathered wildlife discovered her and sounded the alarm. Shortly, the bluejays and the mockingbirds were organizing a defense and started swooping down on the hawk and pecking her on the top of her head. My thought for the songbirds was, “If you knew what kind of a day that hawk had, you wouldn’t be within reach of those talons.”

The hawk hung around the area for about an hour, moving from one tree to another, finally making some sort of peace with the tiny songbirds. Just as dusk was approaching, she took wing and flew out across the valley to find a quiet place to roost for the night and to start her new life in the wild. As I was watching her sail off on those magnificent wings, I thought how she represented some of the clients we work with. These clients are hawkish in their ability to get the job done, are not liked sometimes by co-workers who don’t have the same standards for excellence, and tend to go their own way, moving through their career with great success and determination. They are survivors who have great resiliency and are respected by their superiors for their keen eye for solutions to problems. They don’t rely on birdfeeders to provide their meals – they go out, hunt down their prey, and kill it to provide for themselves and their families. They are aggressive, smart, and masters of their domains.

Are you a hawk or are you a mockingbird?

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 /


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