When I was young, I remember reading about auguries, which were a way of foretelling the future based upon things like watching birds fly. This fascinated me. There was this other way of looking at the world, a language of fowl flight, that if one read it, one could understand the future. What a cool idea.
I mention this because I am always looking up to the sky, and always noting what the birds are doing around me. It’s not out of some need to guess what the future holds (as it happens, I have a pretty good handle on that, within reason), but because I just like to watch birds. I also like watching airplanes, and look up whenever one audibly passes by, but that is not quite the same as birds.
I know my position on this is unique. I know most people don’t think watching birds if great fun. And the funny thing is, I’m not a bird- watcher. That hobby holds almost no interest to me. What I like is to see how birds interact with each other. How they fly.
For instance, if you have ever seen one bird attack another, then you see some real drama. I’ve seen this lots of times, everything from a Coopers Hawk trying to take out an equally sized dove (like watching a WWI dogfight sped up 20 times), or two crows working a single raven (like a chess game where either party worked hardest to get above the other), or even a murder of crows work over a hawk (always a treat). But my favorite bird to watch fly is a Mocking bird. While other birds will come close to their attacker, a mocking bird will strike them, multiple times, and do this with élan. A mocking bird so out flies any other bird that it really isn’t fair. You can almost hear them say, “Listen up punk. School’s in session.”
Anyway, as I got off the exercise bike this morning, and walked back towards the house, I looked up and saw a hawk circling. I think it was a red tail hawk. He was up and over the nearby grocery store, maybe 300 feet up, and turning lazy circles. Any glider pilot worth his salt could tell you he was working the meager lift provided by the roof of the store. A slight breeze pushed the warm air north, and slightly east, so as he circled he got closer to our house. He was up high enough that the other birds didn’t see him. I could tell because they didn’t react. If they knew he was there, they would have ducked and run. I’ve seen this happen enough times to know their reaction. They also shut up when they’re afraid, and they were yapping away this morning to beat the band.
So this hawk worked the lift, and circled maybe 4-5 times nearby. I guess he found nothing, because I could see his wings getting shorter as he started to stoop. Soon he zoomed right over our house, and headed for my son’s school at a speed about 10 times faster then he was going when circling in the thermal.
Watching him go, I wondered what was the augury for this? What did it mean? A hawk circled on my right, and then zoomed over me crossing to my left. Does that mean good things are going to happen to me today? I thought so. So far, it’s been a good guess.