On a visit to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, TX – we were watching birds of many different species at a feeding station.

Suddenly, for no apparent reason, every single one of them (there must have been 50 or more) flew off in unison.

As we scanned the perimeter of the feeding station, we saw this Coopers Hawk land on one of the tree branches at the outside edge. 

When I was reviewing my photos and saw this one, it reminded me that we need to be vigilant in watching for dangers around us: washing our hands, keeping our hands away from our faces, and maintaining our social distancing efforts. The truth is, we’re not only watching for the virus, but the virus, like the hawk, is watching us and waiting for the perfect moment that we let our guard down.

Stay safe everyone. Stay home this weekend. Do video messaging with those who don’t live with you, and Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.

In many traditions, hawks are sacred: Apollo’s messengers for the Greeks, sun symbols for the ancient Egyptians and, in the case of the Lakota Sioux, the embodiment of clear vision, speed and single-minded dedication.

-John Burnside