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June 20, 2009

It rained hard in Riverside Park on Saturday. But all the water was not rain.

If you went to Riverside Park to look for the new red-tailed hawk babies carry with you a smile and many happy thoughts. Youíll find that one of the three energetic little creatures which has blessed us for the past few weeks is no where to be found. I know where he is--heís in my heart and will never leave me. He was determined to make it across the highway and though I discouraged him on several occasions on Saturday morning he attempted to cross the dangerous road and did not make it to the other side. He had more than a week of flying and those few thrilling days have marked the total of his beautiful life. It was a week of pure freedom--more that many of us could claim for our entire lifetime.

A most remarkable hunter too as he caught his first prey only eight days after leaving his nest. It was a rat he caught in the underbrush next to the highway most likely and attempted to fly east with the heavy prey which was at least one third his own weight. Iím pretty sure this forced him to fly very low. When I picked him up in the middle of the highway he still held the rat in his talons.
His mother left her perch on the streetlight where she watched over him for hours as she flew over my head I made sure she saw him. She instantly went over to her two babies waiting for her on their nest tree. I gently set him down at the side of the road and only then did the rat roll free from his strong grasp.

In front of me was the never ending roar of the southbound traffic and behind me was an even more unbearable bellowing of race boats going up the Hudson escorted by a loud fleet of helicopters.
In the millions of years of my precious little friendís evolution nothing has been able to prepare him to cater for the fast, noisy, lethal moving objects which has suddenly appeared in barely a hundred years.

The mechanisms within him have tuned him to survive in a different world--perilous surely but nothing like the alarming world he has been plunged into. What Nature would have taken thousands of years to teach them they must now learn in a few days and weeks.
The Price of Progress is High.

All images above photographed in Riverside Park on Saturday June 20, 2009.


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