Musings: Seeing Like a Hawk

Does this post appear fuzzy to you?  I had an early morning visit to the optometrist, and my eyes are still dilated.

As is my temper.  I can think of two shopping experiences that always make me feel as if I’ve been conned: purchasing cars and obtaining eye-glasses.  The automotive industry has long had a slightly dodgy reputation, and whether or not it is still well-deserved my car-shopping anxiety never goes away.  And so, too, it is for me with spectacles.

In the three years since I last had my peepers examined, the apparent price of lenses to fit my existing frames (and don’t get me started on the price of frames!) has doubled.  At least according to the sweet young lass sitting across the “fitting table”.

The ensuing back-and-forth was an exercise too tedious to recount here, but in brief an examination of the details of my previous purchase was converted into the purchase of new lenses for the same price as before.  A small victory, but I left feeling petty.  I wished once again that eye care was covered by our medicare system, as it is in progressive European countries.

After a quick visit to Pete’s Frootique for groceries we headed home, my wife driving, as my dilated eyes were squinting in the brilliant glare of this December day.  Once home we fussed about inside, that I might avoid the harsh glare of the outside world.  But I could not resist periodic glances at my bird feeders.

A short time later I caught a glimpse of the head of a small hawk bobbing up and down from behind a ground-level bird feeder.  It looked like a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and it appeared to be enjoying a spot of lunch.  In the previous several weeks I had noted crime scenes of at least four different “lunch attacks” (two juncos, one dove, and one Blue Jay), and while I had assuming a hawk was the culprit, I now had some evidence.  The hawk and its prey were more clearly visible from the upstairs bathroom, and I managed a bit of video of the diner and its dinner.  The “Prey du Jour” was Mourning Dove, and if the dove’s friends and neighbours were concerned regarding its sudden absence they didn’t show it later that afternoon, when the feeding platforms were as busy as ever (minus one participant).

If you are feeling a bit peckish, have a peek at this one-minute video.

The whole of nature, as has been said, is a conjugation of the verb to eat, in the active and in the passive.”

  • William Ralph Inge


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