When I was six, I had to present a report on a species of birds. I chose hawks, because they’re vicious predators who rise above the competition and swoop down to take what they want … like me. Furthermore, we lived by a mountain, and now and then we could see a hawk circling around the sky, a perfect opportunity for observational science.
According to my research, hawks loved to eat birds, lizards, mice, and other small animals. In fact, they’ve even been known to carry away dogs. This got me thinking. Our dog, was so heavy, I couldn’t even pick him up. And I lifted weights. So if a hawk could carry away a big, heavy thing like her, then why not me?
As soon as I had this exciting realization, I ran outside and waved my arms. I even saw the hawk, but she wasn’t interested. I happened to know that hawks especially love to eat rabbits, so I put on some bunny ears and hopped up and down. That caught her attention, which got me thinking. Hawks are also known for carrying their prey way up high, then dropping them to their deaths. This made me slightly nervous, so I did the logical thing and played dead.
Moments later, the hawk dived down, clutched me in her talons, and whisked me into the sky. It was neat. And I must have been a pretty good actor, because she didn’t drop me to my death. Instead, she carried me up the mountainside to a great big nest at the top of a fifty foot cliff.
I still tried to play dead, but then my rabbit ears fell off, and the jig was up. The hawk screeched her consternation at being duped, and I, being well-educated in hawkology, screeched back. To translate, I said, “I’m sorry to have deceived you, but I felt it necessary in order to conduct a proper interview. I’m doing a report on hawks, you see, and I’d like to ask you some questions.”
The hawk was flattered. She said that she always wanted to be interviewed. She showed me her eggs and her rabbit skulls. I asked her if it’s true that hawks push their babies out of nests to teach them how to fly.
“It is,” replied the hawk. “Would you like to me do it to you so you can learn to fly?”
“I don’t think that would work,” I said, “because I don’t have wings.”
“Oh, it’s not wings that make you fly,” said the hawk, “it’s the hawk diet. Here, just have a few bites of this rabbit carcass and you’ll be able to fly.”
“I’m pretty sure you need wings to fly,” I said.
“What do you know about flying? I’m a hawk!”
I decided that the hawk had a point, so I ate some of the rabbit carcass. It was awful. Then I stood at the edge of the nest, and the hawk pushed me off. It was really scary. I flapped my arms, I tried to think happy thoughts, but I just couldn’t fly. Luckily, there were some springy trees to pad my fall, though not without some scrapes and bruises.
The hawk met me at the bottom. “That was some excellent flying,” she said.
“I just fell,” I said.
“Oh no, you were definitely flying.”
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t fly.”
“What do you now about flying? I’m a hawk!”
I decided that hawks aren’t very smart. Though in her defense, when she saw my bruise, she felt really bad and offered me a rabbit skull as a get-well gift. I politely declined. “Can you take me home now?” I asked.
And so she took me home. “Maybe next time we can play at your house,” she said.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said.