Since the beginning of September I have seen two birds attacked by hawks. It is excruciating because the hawk doesn’t kill the bird immediately. The hawk stands on the bird, flattening it and pinning the bird to the ground. All the bird can do is lie there, eyes open, fully alive and knowing that death is the only outcome.
The first time it was a pigeon. I shouted, “No!” at the hawk and miraculously, the hawk flew off. The pigeon limped a few steps and then flew a wobbly path under a car. Later that pigeon flew up on the roof of a building but when I went back a few hours later to check on him, he seemed afraid to fly down. All we can do is hope the swelling went down from the puncture wound in his shoulder and he was able to fly off the building.
On Saturday a hawk got a dove. A gentle, peaceful collar neck dove. The hawk stood on the dove. I shouted, “Get off that bird!” The dove started flapping his wings trying to get free. It didn’t matter. The hawk flew off with the dove.
Why does the hawk wait? Does the hawk enjoy the sense of power it gets from scaring the bird? If so, that is really sick. Really sick. And very disappointing to know that a hawk might be just like people we can all think of who engage in cruelty just because it makes them feel powerful.
(c) Crown copyright images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, Kew, UK
Catalog numbers: AIR23/998
#65, #66, #67, #68, #69, #70, #71