Like many folks, I am mesmerized by birds of prey. And perhaps the most common species most of us are able to enjoy regularly are hawks.
The fierce look, those piercing see-through-you eyes, the sharp weaponized beak, talons built for killing, the beautiful earth tone coloring in their wings, and the graceful effortless glide that suddenly turns into the swift dive-bomb of death for rats, lizards, frogs, and other edibles.
It’s not difficult to see the glory of this grand creature, and in that the excellence of the Creator.
Our back yard is often a convenient theater for viewing the hawk show. Frequently I’ll have my telephoto lens trained on one as he soars through the blue Florida sky, and simply watching him through binoculars as he’s perched atop a snag patiently looking for a meal brings me joy.
One day the show became quite lively as a resident mocking bird took offense at the hawk’s close presence to its nest. Tiny in comparison to the hawk’s big body, the mocking bird showed no fear or intimidation as it loudly complained in mid-air, swiping at the hawk again and again, often making direct hit with the hawk. The little bird would return to the bushes for a few seconds of rest, then soon he was back at it, helicoptoring right in the face of the spectacular raptor and actually looking quite fearsome in moments caught by the camera.
As startling as the territorial behavior of the mocking bird was to me, it was downright shocking to see the reaction of the formidable hawk: he did nothing.
I felt certain the hawk could crush the life out of the small bird should he choose, but he did not attack. Nor did he even defend. He sat stoically, unruffled, continuing his efforts to hunt from his high perch. And when the mockingbird’s fly-by hits became disturbing enough, the noble hawk did not retaliate, did not seek vengeance, but merely flew away to a quieter more distance tree where he could be at peace.
There’s a sizable chunk of wisdom to be gleaned in observing the behavior of these birds in their natural habitat. For weeks I have been pondering it. Sometimes in life I have been the mockingbird, so quick to react when I feel threatened by another person’s opinions or behavior or mere presence. And at other times I have been, like the hawk, the one being harassed, but unlike the hawk I did not remain calm and confident in the strength of who I truly am.
Thank you Maker, for the awesomeness of your natural world! And for granting me joy, learning, and growth through observing the works of your hands.