The Dove and the Hawk

A drawing I did long ago of Palemale, the Central Park Red Tail hawk

A sudden thud suggested that a bird had hit a window. Jumping up, I hurried to look out, hoping not to find a poor creature in distress.

I was astonished to find myself staring into the sharply focused, very much alive eyes of a small hawk.

It seemed uninjured and then I realized that its lethal claws were firmly closed around a dove, one of my little friends that come here for the food I offer.

Still gazing into the eyes of the raptor, I felt immobilized by his glare and could only murmur, quietly, “oh no, oh no, oh no!”

The hawk was doing what hawks must do, and I would never think to interfere.

The dove was likely dead already. It’s fate was certainly sealed.

For the brief moments I stood transfixed, I wondered how it was to be that hawk. What did he sense, staring back into my eyes?

Probably the adrenaline of the hunt still coursed through his veins, the satisfaction of his catch, but what did those eyes convey? Certainly not fear. Defiance? Triumph? Curiosity? Contempt?

Putting my emotions onto another creature is wrong, of course.

I only know what I felt, great admiration for such beauty, gratitude for the experience, sadness for the dove whose fate I contributed toward by placing food outside.

In the end, acceptance. I cannot grieve for Nature’s plan. If not “my” dove, another dove would have fed that hawk’s needs.

So I murmured, “Om mani padme hum”

One thought on “The Dove and the Hawk

  1. I am always sad to see that Minnie has caught (and eaten) a mockingbird or a dove. Fortunately, in the 10 years that she has been with me, I have never witnessed this act. She was born to a feral mother and it took me half a year to tame her, but I suppose the survival instinct is still too strong to resist. She has plenty of good food that she likes and yet, she will kill and eat a bird any chance she gets. I understand the hawk’s need to kill for food, but I don’t get my cat’s desire to do this. I can only accept it, which I do.

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