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!