Red-tailed Hawk.


By Charles Towne 

One thing I have noticed in my somewhat eventful life is that animals are very perceptive people.

I mean, think of it, they live, and survive on a very primitive level, and yet, just perhaps, and forgive my sacrilege, but they often reflect the character of our Lord and master much more than people.

What in the world do I mean by making such a statement?

Well, take the issue of trust.  Here we are, supposedly a higher life form, and yet we go about our lives wearing a diadem of fear as though it were our sole purpose in life.

Yeah, we are afraid.  We are afraid of people, animals, the dark, even God, which is more the pity.  We even fear ourselves, or so it seems!

Animals have reason to fear us, after all, we slaughter them for food, and if we don’t eat them we kill them for sport.

In my eighty plus years of hobnobbing with animals as a naturalist, zoo director, and wildlife videographer I have perceived and made friends with enough four-leggeds, and two-leggeds to have witnessed some rare examples of wonderful, even miraculous trust.

There was that time many years ago that I reared a fledgling red-tail hawk to maturity and eventually released him back into the wild.

It was a couple years later while hiking in the woods some twenty miles from my home when I heard the shrill shriek of a red-tail hawk.

Looking up I was pleased to see the beautiful bird watching me from his vantage point on a dead snag not far away.

We stared at each other, and then, on a wish, or perhaps on a whim, I am not sure which, I called to him.  “King, is that really you?”

He fluffed himself up, preened a wing for a moment as if deciding what to say to this human, stared at me, cried again, and flew closer still.

Then, hopping from branch to branch, he approached until only ten or twelve feet separated us.

We visited that red-tail hawk, and the red-headed boy-man and exchanged banalities, until finally, having caught up on recent events, with a final “chirp, chirrup,” and another shriek, he flew away.

(He told me that he had a date with a sweet and very tender little field mouse on the other side of the woods.)

I know that was king because such an event is so far from typical between hawks and men.

That was a special moment in space and time, and a beautiful gift from our wonderful, generous and loving God.

Only by His wondrous grace can we imagine such a profound demonstration of trust.

King displayed no fear that day.

I find it almost impossible to believe that man, foolish, insignificant little man, can say to himself that there is no God when we are surrounded by His handiwork.  Yes, what a glorious example of God’s love.

Dear Heavenly Father, you are wonderfu, and beyond wonderful.

I ask that you reveal yourself to each of us in all of your miraculous power that we may open our eyes, our hearts, our beings, and profess your might and your goodness to all the earth.

Oh God restore us to what you intended us to be in the beginning and cause your spirit to be with us and dwell in us that we may be saved.

In Jesus blessed name we ask it, Amen

Live fully,
Love openly,
And make a difference, today


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Beautiful! I did not know about your predilection for birds of prey. I have “a thing” with the majestic eagle. They are amazing creatures and I feel blessed every time I experience an encounter with one.
    Choices…..yes, that nasty-double-edged sword. Like the eagle, we all need to, and deserve, to fly with freedom. The hard part is making the right choice. Personal freedoms, responsibilities, choices….complex and multi-layered rights of man! I pray today that I make the right choices in life, hurt less, and help more. AMEN

  2. NH, Presence! That is a thing eagles possess, PRESENCE! The feds gave me a golden eagle. He had been shot and was missing a wing but you would never know that he was in any way diminished. He wasn’t expecting any free ride, no entitlements, but he was still regal in every aspect. He knew that he was king. It is an attitude thing don’t you think? If we help instead of seeking help, if we reach out with an open hand full of love instead of a clenched fist expressing our our self righteous anger…? That eagle, if he had clenched his feet into fists he would been unable to walk, in a short time he would have died. As it was, because he stood tall hundreds of school kids saw him as the king that he was. Thanks so much for your wise words. Chaz

  3. When Ed was faced with the possibility of dying after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Non Hodgkin Lyphoma; his perspective in life changed overnight. We packed up our lives in NY and relocated to Apopka because of the Parks that surrounded this city; the wildlife which existed around us. Hawks & Eagles are a common sight in Apopka. We love it. We care very much about their existence. Ed often tells me “When I die, I hope to come back as an Eagle or Hawk.. they are fierce & majestic & rule the skies with a purpose .. “ My response, “Well, I hope you return as an Eagle, so we can be together forever, again …” Diane

  4. God’s majesty and grace are always unfolding around us and this is a wonderful example of that. To be able to connect to an animal like this has to be an exhilarating and soul touching experience.
    Another awesome article Chuck. God bless

  5. Dear Diane and Ed, WOW! I would love to take the two of you down the river one day. I am a walking breathing example of Gods great love and His willingness to heal. You are an inspiration. God bless you both. In Christian love. Chaz

  6. Don, aint it the truth my friend? All we have to do is open our eyes and our hearts for Papa God to show us His great love. Thanks so much for the comment my friend. Keep looking up, Chaz


  8. What a blessing to have such a reunion with your feathery friend. How rewarding that must have felt. I think you are so spot on with bringing up our need for trust and faith. And for pointing out all of the things we fear sometimes, including ourselves. Believe it or not, I was afraid of the dark up until my mid 40’s! Thankfully, I no longer suffer from that and thankfully more of my fears are receding as I continue to build my faith. God Bless us all!

  9. Oh, Unka Chuck, What a beautiful picture of God’s love and care! So amazing that that red tailed hawk “communicated” with you after 2 years! Seems like many higher intelligent animals remember encounters with humans and respond to kindness and care! What a lesson we can learn from them!
    Your “niece” Linda

  10. Kristin, Wow! It seems that your story is my story. For most of my childhood I was controlled by fear. Fear of water, Fear of the night, fear of trains, and fear of my father. You can’t do much about night, it is with us every… well, night! Water was a problem because I was born and raised on an island, as in, surrounded with water. Trains were a fact of life because the railroad track ran alongside the river and we had to walk the tracks to get to our boat landing. (Yeah, you might say I was born on the other side of the tracks!) The trains were an ever present entity. When I was real little my dear old dad took great joy in telling me that the train was coming to get me therefore when I heard the train roaring through the night I believed him. Eventually I overcame my fears by facing them, which is another story in and of itself. I suppose, what with the zoo thing and the lion training thing and following bears in the wild it might be said that I overcompensated just a tad. One thing I have learned is that our God is an ever present help in time of need, and He loves us, and perfect love casts out fear and His love is perfect. He is with you Kristin and He will never leave you! God bless you dear friend, Chaz

  11. Dear Linda, I believe that when we individually reach that place in life’s highway where we see Him in His true light and we really understand how much He loves us, then and only then are we going to realize true joy, peace, and freedom. We are all on a journey but for some of us it just takes a little longer. I am still on the road at nearly 84 years and at times when I look real hard I see a glimmer of light and I hear a voice whispering my name in love, beckoning me on. Blessings on you sissy, Unka Chuck

  12. Charles, yes it seems like we have similar stories. I have had a fear of drowning and sharks that still persists to this day. I kind of wish my parents hadn’t taken me to see JAWS when I was 5 years old. Still haven’t gotten over that! Plenty of people were exposed to JAWS probably at the same or a similar age and grew up just fine without an intense fear of sharks. So, I guess I must take some responsibility. On a different note, I like that you mention the scripture of perfect love casting out fear. I have pondered that often and felt very imperfect. It helps that you tie it in here with God’s love being perfect and being an ever present help in time of need. Thank you.

  13. Oh my dear kristin, YOU HAVE IT! The solution for our irrational fear is in fact His irrational, unreasonable (in human terms) love. Wow, what a wonderful God is our Holy friend. As to sharks, yeah, it makes perfect sense to fear something that eats meat when we consider that we are made of… MEAT! I have swam with sharks but that probably doesn’t surprise you considering that perhaps a tad crazy I am! And believe me, a lot of people were traumatized by the movie. Thanks oodles for sharing, Chaz

  14. Oh WOW!! What an amazing story about reuniting with one of God’s majestic creatures that you had crossed paths with earlier in life!! It truly is all about trust. But even beyond that, it is about God speaking, communicating to you through a bird. WOW! Our Lord is so versatile and creative. Nature is such an awesome part of our world and I find it quite exciting to get up every morning and see what new things God has for us. Thank you so much for sharing that and showing us more glimpses into our Lord.

  15. Dear CSG, It pleases me mightily that others can be blessed by experiences that occurred a lifetime ago. My mama, God bless her, always referred to memorable events as, “happenings.” She taught me to look for, to be aware, of the “happenings”, those blessed moments, that visit each of us in our day to day lives. “Happenings” may come in many forms, as People, words, sounds, a hawk from our past, who knows? God may use almost anything to speak to us, to bless us, to tell us that He loves us. Yes, I agree with a resounding WOW! May your life be blessed with beautiful and joyful “happenings,” Chaz

  16. Such great comments on yet another great thought provoking article. We have rescued many a feral cat over the years and some will never overcome their fear of humans. Trapping them to have them fixed most likely contributes to their fear but not so much that they don’t show up for a meal twice a day. It is amazing the differences in animals that experience positive human interaction at a very young age as they are so different (no fear) from animals that experience no human touch or negative human interaction at the same age. I’m no psychologist but I suspect the same theory applies to humans…

  17. Mike, some profound thoughts here. I could never understand how some people treat animals in a most humane manner, you know what i mean, with kindness and great compassion, and yet those same people treat people with cruelty and even contempt? It was said that Adolph Hitler was the epitome of kindness to animals and yet he was contemptible to some peoples to the extreme? Let it be said of us that we are merciful and kind, Christlike, to all of God’s creatures. Blessings to you and yours, Chaz

  18. As a little boy I was like Kristin, very much afraid of the dark! We had an old home that was built around 1910, and at night it would make sounds, that sounded like someone walking around. It was a three bedroom, and mine was at the very back, down a very dark hall. I slept face down, usually with my head covered by my blanket, and enough of my face exposed to get air. I had lots of nightmares, and would sometimes fall out of bed. When that would happen, I would pull my blanket down to the floor and roll under the bed until morning! Even to this day, if I hear an unusual noise, I will try to determine where it came from. I am just glad that I serve a God that watches over me at all times! And, I no longer fear the dark!

  19. Praise God Don! He really does cast out all fear. I was terrified of the dark until the night that I heard a noise in the underbrush and decided enough was enough. I charged toward the noise screaming and shouting and threatening all sorts of mayhem and scared two amorous raccoons so bad they took off running and I guess they forgot all about what it was they were doing ’cause I didn’t hear any more scary sounds that night. Papa God showed me that night that reality is not usually as bad as the imaginary. God bless you my friend, Chaz

  20. We rescued a very fearful dog four years ago. Turned out she was very sick at the time of the rescue. She is now one of the most loyal and affectionate dogs we’ve ever had. The reward we receive when we recognize and care for those that would otherwise be left alone is remarkable – as it is for those who step away from their fear and learn to trust.

    Beautiful story of the eagle!

  21. Dear Gymrat, I have experienced such closeness with nature in my life. I honestly believe our God wants to teach us if we will only be willing to be taught. What a wonderful friend He is. I know of a beautiful cat in Apopka that was rescued by the police after it had been terribly abused. That kitty, his name is Smoky, even after the horror he went through at the hands of man is the most loving cat I have ever known. What an example of unconditional love he is. We can learn from all of God’s creatures. Thanks so much for your comment. Chaz

  22. Steve, all I can say is you get out of life what you put into it son. You are blessed because you bless. God bless you my friend, Chaz

  23. Richard ol’ pal, Lions, tigers and bears, ho ho! How about Gators, snakes and anything else that is capable of folding, stapling and spindling you. And don’t forget the Javalina, monkeys, gorrillas, and the most dangerous varmints of all, man! Nah, Gerald Durrell I am not, just me, mild mannered Charlie. Chaz


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