Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Peregrine Falcon

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

It was an absolutely gorgeous spring day, perfect for a long walk. I headed down to my favorite nature path. Just as I came around one bend, I saw this amazing bird standing on the very edge of the grass, almost on the path. I froze in my place, not wanting to disturb it. I was standing about  50 yards away from the bird. It was about 15, maybe 17 inches tall. It had long wings, and these, plus the feathers down its back, were blue-grey, with specks of white, almost dotted; its breast was largely white, with orange or rust spots. It had a black, roundish head, with yellowed eyes, reminding me a little of an owl. Was it an owl? Was it some kind of owl that I had never seen? What a gorgeous bird, so distinct. I kept looking, still frozen, fearing it would fly away if I moved any nearer. Why didn't I bring my phone/camera on this walk? I needed to remember what I was seeing. Wait, was it hurt? It moved ever so slowly from leg to leg. We stood there together - separate - for a few minutes. I noticed its sharp beak, the sharp talons on its feet. Wait, maybe this was some sort of hawk? Hmm. Maybe I need to just give it space.

So I walked back the other direction, headed home, and came back with my camera, some 20 minutes later. The bird was gone, of course.

Back at home, I entered the bird's description into the old "Google Search bar," and made my way through lots of bird pictures and descriptions. I believe the bird I saw was a peregrine falcon

In all likelihood, it had just wounded some bird or small mammal, and was waiting to pounce again, when I happened upon the scene.

According to The Cornell Lab,
"In cities, they are masterful at catching pigeons."
"They often sit on high perches, waiting for the right opportunity to make their aerial assault."

Something tells me that falcon was as alert to me as I was to it, and therefore it paused in its deadly process.

I'm sure as soon as I turned around and headed home, it finished its work. That is the nature of this bird of prey, yes?

In what ways do we act as birds of prey?
Who is highly-focused, determined, ruthless?
Are there human birds of prey?

I can't help but see an analogy between this bird of prey and our current government. I am so horrified by the intentional work being done to undermine so much of what I believe is right, and, especially, how those in power are taking advantage of opportunities like this pandemic. Look at these headlines from recent weeks:

Trump administration uses pandemic to push far-right agenda

During coronavirus, the Trump administration environmental rollbacks continue

Well-connected Trump alumni benefit from coronavirus

Before COVID-19, Trump aide sought to use disease to close borders

Trump's temporary halt to immigration is part of larger plan, Stephen Miller says

Red states are exploiting coronavirus to ban abortion

Senate Republicans to push ahead on judges over Democratic objections

I will stop here; it was just too easy to find these headlines. It's as if the Trump administration has sent out a secret memo, "Quick, no one is paying attention...let's grab this opportunity right now and make all our ugly desires happen." They are sneaky, they are focused, and they are lying in wait...watching for the perfect opportunity to strike. COVID-19 gives them excellent cover. This is what my daily newspaper reading reveals...and why I find myself wanting to read the paper less during this time of shelter-in-place.

This is no time to stop paying attention.

Look how the administration spreads blame at this difficult time, using racist, divisive language and diatribe about China, cheering on the militias who protest the shelter-in-place rules, mocking and belittling others, especially women. Look at which watchdog or non-sycophant staff is being ousted or demoted on a Friday evening. Look at who is profiting during this pandemic.

Look at what those in power find time to do and what they don't do.
Look at their subterfuge.
Look at their focus.

This is purposeful cruelty. This is blatant disregard for those that truly need help.

We must all be on high alert. We must interrupt these human birds of prey, freeze them in their tracks. We need to make sure that this administration knows we are here. We must continue to protest, to speak up, and to question. We must keep our focus on what we treasure, what we value, and do not lose sight. There is so much at stake.

The peregrine falcon - this is nature, this is the way the world works, let falcons be falcons.

These human birds of prey - we have to stop them.


  1. Interesting how your encounter with a bird led to thinking about politics. Animals and birds act on instinct. People - some decisions and choices make no sense.

    1. I live in D.C. area; I can't escape politics. It is a heavy weight at this time, I think it's always on my mind. Very sad time.

  2. I couldn’t agree more w/ your assessment of Trump and his cronies. I’m exhausted from it. Seeing the peregrine falcon as a metaphor for Trump is clever. But a hawk can be trained. That’s what must happen w/ Trump.

    1. "But a hawk can be trained." Love that. UGH! This is such a tough time. I'm amazed by how many of the SOL slices today spoke of this same painful frustration and exhaustion, eight weeks into this pandemic. Thanks for commenting!