The Wonders of Nature Revealed Through Observation

Hawk (Photo credit: rmb3588photo)

A while back, I was jogging on a quiet road in Sharps Chapel.  I may have slowed down to a walk to recover my breath, but in any case, I observed a songbird fly past me and alight on a tree branch near the road, closely followed by a hawk that attacked it for its mid-day meal.

I felt fortunate to have observed this (much to the demise of the song bird but to the glory of the hawk).  I felt alive and more in-tune with nature.

Life is at the Intersections

Jim and I have this game that we call “significant events”.  Basically, it is something that breaks up the monotony of the moment — the intersection of life that moves things along.  It is a game we often play that causes us to slow down and take notice.  We’ll sit someplace, anyplace (along the rocky shoreline, in the boat, on a log in a sunny field, on a park bench in town) and wait…for a significant event.  What qualifies as a significant is readily apparent when it happens.  It could be anything but it is significant compared to the baseline.

Baselines are important.  I am reading a book now called “What the Robin Knows” with the subtitle of How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World, by Jon Young.  He talks about baselines (which may be different, depending upon the time of day) when birds are waking up in the morning, or quieting down in the heat of the day.  And breaks in those baselines that occur when a cat or hawk or raccoon enters their space.

Through observation, you can see the behavior of the birds change and that change, according to the author, is different based on if the intruder is a cat, or if it is a dog (not a cat).  The birds know the various danger levels and they announce it through their behavior to others via their calls and other physical actions.

My observation of the hawk and the songbird during my run was one of those “significant events”  where the baseline was interrupted. This particular event, according to the book,  turns out to be a common situation where some birds know that roads flush out game and they simply wait for that to occur and pounce when the opportunity presents itself.  It does not have to be a road.  It could be a boat in the ocean creating a wake and the seagulls or dolphins taking advantage of the confusion it creates for the fish in that wake.

So whether you read a book about what others have observed or you do you own observing first-hand, do take the time to explore this.  It is fascinating and will enrich your life.

Life is an Adventure.