Hawk Teachers


Whenever I spend time in nature or with animals, I come away with lessons and direction. Sometimes they are just for me but more often, I get waves of insight that could apply to anyone watching. Last Fourth of July when the young hawks living close to my house took flight for the first time as a result of some ravens pestering them, I was reminded that fear is often the impetus for growth and transformation. So you might imagine that I was overwhelmed with insights on Sunday when Brett and I visited Sky Falconry. I’ll share one here.

The amazing thing about the sport of falconry and the raptors we worked with Sunday, is that the relationship between bird and human is totally cooperative and ultimately up to the raptor. Hawks and falcons who work with humans are flown un-tethered quite quickly. Sky Falconry’s newest member “New Kid”did his second free flight with us and he had only been with them two weeks. Every single time these birds fly, they DECIDE to come back. This occurs because the human creates a safe, enriching environment and guaranteed meals, so the animal chooses to continue the relationship instead of flying away.

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Steam Punk is going after a small tidbit that I threw high into the air. She was so excited to play this game that she took off into the air and then back to her perch over and over before we started. Also note my ridiculous statue posture. If you give me a rule about how to do something new (like “keep your hands to your side”) I follow it! I didn’t notice my “hawking statue” pose until Brett and I saw I was in the exact same position in every picture and cracked up.
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She’s got it!
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Now time to enjoy her prize.

For me this illustrates the potential for humans to live much more cooperatively on this earth. In 2016 the ideas for living with less negative or even positive impacts on nature are truly endless. Solar roadways, backyard beekeeping, small plot farming… These aren’t even the wild ones. Do you know that technology exists to mop up oil spills and nuclear waste with mats made of mycelium (the vegetative part of fungus)?

Historically there seems to have been two sides to the conservation conversation. Either humans are a useless drain to the planet and should put nature over their well-being for everyone’s survival, or nature is simply looked at as a bottomless resource for humans, the planet’s rulers. I see that the potential for a whole new view. We have technology, ingenuity, and drive for both nature and humans to flourish collaboratively. We can make win-win choices that vastly increase human well-being while simultaneously honoring and enriching the nature we depend on. The hawks decision to stay with their humans illustrated this concept to me as they waited expectantly to play games, took the risk to work with strangers, and returned back each and every time. They showed me that they WANTED to work together. What can we accomplish if we approach our decisions from that foundation? How much good could we do one tiny choice at a time?

Stay tuned for more hawk talk coming soon. There is lots more to share!

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Lanner falcon Habibi with Denise
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Nice to meet you!

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