If an old, dead tree along the highway was cut down would anyone notice? Well, I did, and I wonder about the red tailed hawk pair who used it as their perch.
On the north bound side of Route 95 in Danvers, MA - just north of the Center Street overpass and before route 62 - there was an old, dead tree that stood twice as tall as anything around it. I doubt anyone would have taken notice of this tree unless you were a birder or had an inclination towards the natural world. Most people probably drove past it everyday while on their cell phones or sipping their lattes and never knew it was there. But I knew it, and every time I passed I'd look to see if the hawks were there. And they almost always were.
Sometime this past fall it was suddenly gone, just a clean-cut stump and a hole in the space it occupied in the sky. I assume State highway workers removed it to prevent it falling over in a storm and blocking one of the most traveled routes through northern Massachusetts. I can see their reasoning, but did they think of the hawks?
I thought about the tree again this morning, as I always do, when I drive past the stump. And I thought about it even more because I saw both of the hawks, perched a few hundred yards apart, one on a highway sign and one in another not-so-nice dead tree. Do they miss their old tree? Do they even remember it? Do they fly towards it expecting it to reappear as mysteriously and suddenly as it disappeared?
If I could be another species for just five minutes I've always wanted to be a hawk or an eagle -I know, you're surprised not a dolphin or a whale? It's true. I would love to see through their amazing eyes, feel what it would feel like to fly, and find out if they miss their tree. What sets humans apart from most other animals is our ability to feel empathy for others. And I feel sad for these hawks even though I'd like to think that they don't mind their tree being gone and have found other perches that suit them just as well. Perhaps I'm anthropomorphizing a bit too much, but I am only human.
Lake Padden, a month later
3 hours ago