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Marra Apgar
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Why I like hawks

I’ve asked myself this question before, and I find it difficult to put an answer into words. Hawks are really amazing. Check out the BBC short below for some footage of the physical abilities. They are also really dinosaur-like in a very highly evolved way.

Hawk brains seem to work very much automatically with comments from the peanut gallery of their cognitive thoughts in quiet moments afterwards. Many people prefer to work with falcons: humans can relate to a bird that is relatively sedate and thinks before it switches into action mode. Not so with a hawk. Events trigger a blindingly fast response that leaves you both wondering what just happened. The hawk, of course, can access its short term memory to find out why it did what it just did. If it feels the need. I think that’s one of the things that I like about them.

Another thing that goes along with that is the sheer, pure determination. I see that spirit in other birds, but hawks have a focus and single-mindedness that make any other bird look like a pansy. I knew a female Brown Goshawk who tackled and killed a Galah on someone’s roof. She did it with a broken wing. The householders put bits of meat out for her once that was gone, but none could catch her. I had to use a trap. She finished healing in my hospital, but the wing wasn’t aligned as well as I would like. My experience of how strong and adept and capable she was convinced me that she had at least as good a chance of survival as a perfectly able juvenile of any other species.

I admire that confident, never give up attitude.