Monday, March 26, 2007

The catch

Driving from the gym early this morning, a large red-tailed hawk rose from the side of the road ahead and flew in front of my car. It hovered about eighteen inches above the road's surface as it tried to gain altitude, its huge wings beating the air furiously. Suddenly it veered off to the left and the pair of us traveled in parallel for a bit--me staying on the road of course. I saw its beautiful snowy underbelly then noticed it had a squirrel gripped firmly in its talons.

The little thing's bushy tail swept behind the birds feet, its back was arched and the face was pointed in the same direction as the hawk's beak. It was being carried away to its death, though I hope it had been stunned or died during the hawk's attack. Instinctively, I honked my horn about ten times to try and frighten the bird so the animal could fall down to the soft grass in the field and run away (if it wasn't stunned). But the hawk wasn't frightened and it rose and rose and I had to turn my attention back to my driving.

I felt bad and yet I knew it was just kind and cruel Mother Nature at work. The hawk is as beautiful in its own way as the squirrel and needs to eat, too. My thoughts went to the polar bear cub called Knut in the Berlin Zoo that was abandoned by its mother and left to die. In that case, humans stepped in to save it and allow it to grow into an adult bear. Is human intervention regarded as nature at work in that sort of case? Or should, as some animal rights groups state, the cub have been left to die as its sibling did. I think to hell with what the animal rights groups hold in this instance and chose to think of that sort of intervention as nature at work--man's compassion for animals and life driving him to save them.

Cherry picking, I suppose.

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