Thursday, June 13, 2013

Have We No Heart?

Now that the excitement has died down, I realized something interesting about that episode last week, in which the hawklet that hadn’t yet left the nest suddenly realized the cute baby starling could be captured and eaten.  Like many of the more than 3,000 real-time viewers, I’d been following this young hawk since it was an egg.  My reactions and the ones posted on the live chat line were almost all about pride in our young protégé:
“Wow, and it hasn’t even flown yet! …Acting like a grown-up hawk!..That’s instinct for you…Brought home her own lunch…Way to go!”
Few of us concentrated on the parent starling that yelled its head off and dive-bombed the hawk, or on the appealing tiny chick that looked up so hopefully at its destroyer.  Evidently our normal sympathy with the underdog had been wiped out by those months of  living with the hawk family.  Reminds me of one of the verses from that Victorian collection of “Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes” –
                                                      Little Willie killed his sister
                                                      She was dead before we missed her.
                                                      Willie’s always up to tricks!
                                                      Ain’t he cute?  He’s only six!


  1. I did feel a bit sorry for the poor foolish baby starling. But, after all, it was a starling - an introduced, pest species. Fewer of them to steal nesting holes from bluebirds! CMS

  2. p.s. I am sure that the girls would NOT feel the same way about this as I do. I don't know if they saw the video yet, but I bet they would not like it one little bit! CMS

  3. i must say the thing that impressed me the most was the courage (stupidity?) of Mother Starling and her fierce attacks on the hawklet. She tried, she really did...

  4. Edith, this is a tough issue, no question about it. No one likes to see an innocent baby creature getting eaten, or a frantic mama trying to save her young. But, on the other hand, Anonymous makes good points about starlings: They're an invasive species; they're nest stealers (and, I believe, nest robbers as well); and, frankly, they're a dime a dozen. So my sympathy is a bit limited.