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I was walking up the hill

Anne Dalke's picture

past senior row on Wednesday morning, when I saw

a red-tailed hawk (entirely undisturbed by me) making her breakfast of a squirrel.


Sarah Cunningham's picture

lucky you

lucky you- and lucky hawk!

et502's picture

Tooth & Claw

my immediate reaction to these images was "nature = red in tooth and claw," which, of course, led to a google search of that phrase.

From the Phrase Finder: term origniated around 1850; used in a poem by Tennyson, also in a poem by his friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. Hallams poem posed questions about the conflict between religion and nature, with "love as the basis of the Christian religion," contrasted with the "callousness of nature." The term was also used by Darwinists to support "survival of the fittest" theories. 

My second reaction was a connection of this image to National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. Why do we find these kinds of images/stories about animals in the natural world so enthralling? Why are so many people into Shark Week (according to Urban dictionary: A week in the summer when discovery channel broadcasts all its shows in the shark theme. The best week to watch TV.)? Violence is perhaps the best way to get people's attention, so that is the story the media tells.

But is nature so violent and survival-based? Alfred Russell Wallace, a contemporary of Darwin and "co-discoverer or evolution," states, "the popular idea of the struggle for existence entailing misery and pain in the animal world is the very reverse of the truth. What it really brings about is the maximum of life and of enjoyment of life with the minimum of suffering." So what we're seeing in these pictures of the hawk is actually life maximized? And further, according to this article, "primates spend just 1 percent of their time being disagreeable and 9 percent of the time being nice (the other 90 percent of their time is spent in nonsocial activities).. Authors of the study suggest that aggression is so potentially costly it must be used sparingly. On the other hand it costs almost nothing to be nice. Being nice makes for poor entertainment, however, boring scientists and the public alike."

CMJ's picture