It was a beautiful day, all bright and sunshiny. I was enjoying myself just sitting on the patio out in the back of the house. The quiet was suddenly interrupted when a half-dozen crows were screaming and dive bombing over my head. They were flying in and out at the top of a tall pine tree nearby. Wondering what was causing all of this noisy activity, I looked more carefully.
It suddenly became clear when a large hawk swooped down out of the tree, flying past my head, with the crows in hot pursuit! These large black birds were angry as they drove the hawk from their territory.
How do I know they claim this place as their own? Because, in the past, I have spoiled them by putting food out under one of their favorite trees and by planting corn, which crows enjoy pulling up before it matures!
It is still surprising to see crows chasing a bird of prey like the hawk. Hawks are bold, strong, aggressive and quite capable of killing other birds and small mammals. Actually, hawks have been known to attack man if their nests are disturbed.
One crow might not take on a hawk alone; but six, acting in concert, can and did drive this hawk from the backyard. Crows are intelligent, clever and fearless. They can be a nuisance and they make a lot of noise. They displayed all of these qualities in mounting their attack on the hawk.
Were the birds planning a return to their food source under the tree? Probably, but I was hoping Mr. Gray, the resident stray cat, might show up to scare them away. Mr. Gray hasn't been around lately; and, even when he does show up, the crows don't usually seem all that frightened by him.
Crows are all-for-one-and-one-for-all birds. They seem to know there is strength in unity. In these times of crisis, we could learn from the example of these big, black birds.
When the hawk is the aggressor, he often whistles and screams. As the one being pursued, he seemed quiet and subdued. When last I saw him through the tree tops, he was headed South with six angry crows in hot pursuit!
The lesson to be learned from this encounter would seem to be that when individuals (crows or people) unite to fight a common danger, the chance for success rises. If they do not stick together, they might not survive separately. The strength of the strongest, in this case the hawk, can be overpowered by the many. Can the lessons of nature be applied when the bubble bursts?
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.