About mid-morning I went for a hike in the Pine Creek Gorge and happened upon two PGC bird biologists, Sean and Mario. I was just out to get a nice hiking/birding adventure in, but they were kind enough to allow me to join them as the surveyed the gorge for peregrine falcon nest sites.
We walked along the Pine Creek Rail Trail stopping at various points along the way to send out a call signal and then to look and listen.
At the first site we had what looked like some kind of accipiter fly overhead (maybe a goshawk?).
Then after about an hour and a half in we spotted one! The peregrine falcon, flying over a suitable habitat and warding off nearby vultures...it was incredible to watch! Then this bird perched and we observed it for about five minutes before it flew off to the south of us. I wonder if it is holding down a territory. I wonder if it has a mate nearby.
Peregrine falcons are known for their wandering habits so much that its in their name; a peregrine by definition is one who wanders far and wide. Time will tell if a pair of peregrine falcons will be nesting in the Pine Creek Gorge this year.
In thinking about this-afternoon's experience I'm finding myself reflecting on at least two things.
First, as Mario noted, looking at it perched, if it had not alighted while we were passing by it would have been extremely easy to overlook. It gets me thinking about all of the people, animals,, plants, etc. that live in close proximity to us and how extremely easy it is to overlook each of these as we lead our busy lives. I am just as susceptible to overlook those who are vulnerable and in need of help as anyone else. This is why, trusting that by the power of God I will not overlook others, one of my favorite simple prayers is this, "God, help me to see. Give me eyes to see those who are vulnerable and hurting and who I can help."
Second, as I consider what it looks like for me to live into community with the peregrine falcon; the falcon and I are not going to have coffee and donuts; I'm not going to get as close as possible, that would only push it away. It has found favorable habitat. A place to call home. The best way to treat the peregrine falcon as my neighbor is to give it space. In a world where human influence on the environment is celebrated and constantly expanding, the best way for all of us to live into community with many of the varied plants and animals that we share this earth with is to give them space.
Thanks Sean and Mario, for allowing me to tag along.