As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Scolding the Joy Out of a Beautiful Moment

Something of wonder thing occurred at the White House recently. It may still be occurring, although I haven’t seen evidence of it recently.

A young red-tailed hawk arrived on the grounds. For city folk like me, it’s a glorious thing to see.

I witnessed it the other day on the North Lawn when some smaller birds were chasing the hawk around, perhaps defending their nests. It perched on some tree with a put-upon look, as if of course it had a right to those eggs and weren’t those other mean birds so rude to deny him – or her – a nutritious and tasty meal?

Hawks of course are large, beautiful birds of prey. I tried to take a couple of photos for you but wasn’t successful. The White House, however, was, and posted this exquisite shot.

white house hawk

I’ve seen hawks before during my years at the White House, what with the large number of well-fed, fattened-up squirrels bounding about the terrain. The White House squirrels have little fear, because nothing violent ever happens at the White House and they learn people won’t harm them. I remember having one climb up the pant leg of my suit looking to share a Peanut M&M or two with me.

There were times in the past when you knew a hawk was overhead because you saw the squirrels scatter as if one had signaled an air raid warning and the others understood it was time to run, duck and cover. Not always successfully, though, as I have at least once or twice seen a hawk calmly disemboweling a squirrel in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, oblivious to gawking tourists as it savored its meal.

The photo above was included in a White House blog post which naturally celebrated the presence of a splendid visit by the natural world to the urban park that is the White House grounds – actually, it’s part of the National Park system.

Celebrated for a sentence or two, that is. Because the Left can’t just appreciate beauty for it’s own sake. It has to create a “teaching moment,” so often one that instructs in the evil man does and the need for corrective, and hopefully coercive, action by the enlightened among us.

And so of course, the White House left it to one Tamara Dickinson, Principal Assistant Director for Environment & Energy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to extoll the raptor’s presence. She admitted she was ” enjoying the company” of the bird then went right into finger-wagging mode:

But as we admire and appreciate the animals that have learned to live in our backyards, it’s important to remember that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for much of the world’s wildlife to adapt to the changes that humans are imposing on our shared planet. Consider, for example, the effects that climate change is having on birds. Rising average temperatures, more extreme weather events, and sea-level rise are all forcing bird populations out of their natural habitats and ranges. There’s also strong evidence that climate change induces behavioral changes in birds, altering migration and breeding patterns.

As a result, we’re seeing declines in the populations of many bird species, which will only continue unless something changes. One recent study notes that by the year 2080, around half of the bird species in the United States could lose more than 50 percent of their current range due largely to the effects of climate change.

Really? We know what will happen in 2080 to birds? Climate scientists in the 1990s already incorrectly predicted the weather that would occur over the following 20 years, when it has warmed not at all. And BTW, “extreme weather events” have not been shown to be related to climate change.

It’s our responsibility to do what we can to tackle climate change and take other actions to help protect and restore declining populations of birds and other animals in the U.S. and worldwide. President Obama’s Administration is leading on this front in a number of ways, including unveiling a comprehensive strategy to promote pollinator health and habitat, to supporting the National Climate Assessment to help us identify and respond to the most pressing effects of climate change, to implementing an ambitious series of executive actions under the Climate Action Plan.

Pollinator health? Do hawks pollinate things? What’s that got to do with it?

Can’t we just enjoy this sublime creature without beating ourselves over the head? Do we always have to “learn” from the experience? How about, instead, learning to experience.

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25 Responses to Scolding the Joy Out of a Beautiful Moment

  1. Tamara Dickson a/k/a pigeon droppings.

    p.s. The photo looks like the bird stepped right into the lens of the surveillance camera.

  2. Thanks for this Keith!

    In my little 1/2 acre of southeastern Virginia lakefront heaven, we have nature play out every day. Birdfeeders, bluebird and purple martin colonies, turtles,bunnies,voles,muskrats, ducks, Canada geese …. and predators, the always lurking buffet crowd of fox, hawks, eagles, osprey,owls and the occasional vulture for clean up. Squirrels and blue jays eat peanuts from our hands, robins visit our backdoor for a handful of raisins.

    Wildlife is thriving in my corner of the world since our neighborhood has kept their cats indoors and we never replaced our last senior dachshund who passed a few years ago. It has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with a safe backyard haven for our wild friends. :D

  3. Ya think the White House will comment on a “climate change” that is burning up the country right now? That’s the change in the climate of races getting along, which has gone steadily downhill since POTUS started “acting stupidly”. That’s a “global warming” that’s destructive right now.

  4. What a nice photo, thanks for sharing with us.

    Here in the wide open wild West, we see so many species of wildlife from the birds migrating to the native wild predators.
    It’s a well known fact that densely built cities have caused much of the disruption of wildlife habitat.
    In the interest of preserving the earth, can we suggest that all of the government buildings be destroyed in DC to further the welfare of those who “promote pollinator health and habitat”?

  5. Birds are magical, smart and surprising critters. We have eagles in Maine (and osprey, which look like small eagles). I watch them ride the air currents, far, far above the ground. With barely a wing flap, they can stay up for hours, circling, hunting. Amazing.

    Going to the man-made global warming piece of Keith’s piece, these radical humans-are-evil nuts are like those “experts” in the 18th century who believed that phlogiston existed. Phlogiston, they taught, was the substance which was actually burning in anything on fire. It was all malarkey, of course, but if you didn’t accept their theory you were, a… a… a… denier! That’s what you were. Phlogiston denier??? No soup for you!

    The modern day global warming nuts are like the ancient Druids. All they need is their own Stonehenge to worship Mother Earth.

  6. Keith,
    Thanks so much for posting. I am so blessed out here in fly over country I forget how it must be back east.
    We have so many out here they are just a background of everyday life.
    Ever have time and the inkling load up the family motor west on ol route 66 Joplin way. Plenty of room, one porch for sunrise, another for sunset, a grill and plenty of libations for the hours in between.
    Keep up the great work. If rest of press corps had same sentiment towards the job this country be a helluva lot better off.
    G

  7. “Can’t we just enjoy this sublime creature without beating ourselves over the head? Do we always have to “learn” eatfrom the experience? How about, instead, learning to experience.”

    Exactly!

    I am sick of being talked to like I am in grade school or an idiot

  8. Oh you poor city people miss so much of Gods creation. I moved from Los Angeles and went North to the High Desert 25 years ago and never looked back. I have 63 trees on an acre in The Estates of my community and do enjoy all my visitors, and I especially love a family of Quail that march through in the evening to bathe, and eat what has dropped from the trees.

  9. […] Scolding the joy out of a beautiful moment . . . Something of wonder thing occurred at the White House recently. It may still be occurring, although I haven’t seen evidence of it recently. A young red-tailed hawk arrived on the grounds. For city folk like me, it’s a glorious thing to see. It has to create a “teaching moment,” so often one that instructs in the evil man does and the need for corrective, and hopefully coercive, action by the enlightened among us. White House Dossier […]