Fight and forget

Posted on Sun July 11, 2021.

The red kite is a beautiful medium-large bird of prey. Most of the surviving birds live in Europe, although their presence differs. In Switzerland, the population is stable at the moment, according to most sources but when I look at the sky, I have the feeling that their number is increasing.

Red kites are sky acrobats. They use the thermal to win height, which is a fascinating sight to observe. One moment you can almost see them in the eyes, the next moment they are minor dots high up in the sky. Without effort, seemingly automatic they go up and up, making you feel small and insignificant. No wonder people have always dreamt of flying like birds, that the freedom of birds has so long been inspiration to us.

In the area where I live, I have the privilege of seeing red kites almost every day. Majestically they fly over my head, follow the farmers who are ploughing, just like seagulls follow fishing boats, and almost fill the air with their presence. But one day, I was lucky to observe a special encounter. A probably young red kite had decided to go out and find himself a new hunting territory. And since the bird was young, he didn’t know all the rules yet. How could he?

He flew, he looked, he sailed over the fields, and all of a sudden, he saw a mouse. It might have been his first prey, he was excited and decided to dive. But he had not seen, neither did he know, that he had entered the territory of a crow. The crow was very close and decided to attack – not the mouse, but the young red kite.

If you have ever seen a crow and a red kite, you will know the difference, not only in size – the crow is a lot smaller than the red kite – but also in the way of flying. The red kite flies like a king, the crow, well, the crow flies. But in the air, the red kite has no chance when attacked by a crow. The crow is more agile, faster, more aggressive. The fight was short but decisive. The only thing our young red kite could do, was give up its mouse and leave the crow’s territory as soon as possible.

Just outside the crow’s territory sits a barn. Shaken and nervous, the red kite decided to pause on its roof. Within a few minutes the crow approached as well. I looked fascinated what would happen now, and the answer is: nothing. The crow landed on the roof next to the red kite. There they were, sitting peacefully next to each other, the same birds which had fought with each other only a few minutes ago.

Nature lives in the present moment. Birds do not reprocess earlier events, what has happened, has happened, they have no grudge. The birds met, clashed, fought and the fight resulted in a winner. The crow had got the mouse, the red kite knew the border of its territory and now both birds were at peace.

People can talk and think about earlier disagreements years after they have taken place. Holding on to past negative experiences costs lots of energy and prevents us from moving on with our lives. In the end, it can make us ill. The red kite and the crow show us the way. A fight may be worth fighting, but once the winner is known, the fight is over.