Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nature red in tooth and claw

I was outside this morning cutting up brush for kindling. Not the most interesting task, but now is the time to get ready for the fall.

The woods are full of bird calls right now, but suddenly a new sound took the foreground, a repeated sort of shriek -- chee, chee, chee, chee . . . I was puzzled for a few moments, then a hawk flew across my clearing with a smaller bird in its talons. The victim was doing the squealing. The hawk flew into the woods uphill from me and after another 30 seconds or so, the sound stopped.

This shouldn't be disturbing. It's how the world works. If finches were never breakfast, there would be no hawks -- and there would be too many finches, until the population crashed. Still, we humans have an overdeveloped empathic capacity. That often distorts our thinking. The moral realm of human relations is not the moral realm of an ecosystem. On the other hand we are part of ecosystems, although most of us usually forget that.

1 comment:

  1. We were out for a walk yesterday and heard a squeaking, squealing sound. Looked up and saw a hawk with a rodent in its talons. We humans are part of the ecosystem, we just need a much bigger raptor to come a carry a few of us away. What we do to each other now is hardly, if ever, about food.