I hope everyone is made to have the experience at least once in their life of meeting an animal who has not adapted to us. For humility’s sake.

Amen, sister! But for the sake of their survival as a species, history suggests that animals are much better off if they have adapted to us at least to the point of knowing to flee or hide from us when they encounter us alone in a dark alley of trees. Animals that show no fear whatsoever are taken to be tame — though nothing could be further from the truth — and typically meet the fate of our livestock, without the benefit of a captive breeding program.

Urban living would be great if the cities were smallish and if one could easily get out into the woods on public transportation. Given that latter condition, I would gladly live in an urban environment. It would certainly be best for the earth if we lived in concetrated settlements, as you imply.

By the way, I can think of at least two other possible reasons, besides a general lack of interest in nature, for the students’ apparent disinterest in the redtail:
1) They see it all the time, so its novelty has worn off;
2) They’ve never seen anything like it at close range before, so they’re unable to assimilate its presence — it has no place in their worldviews. I’m thinking here of the story I think Bill McKibben told somewhere (or was it Jared Diamond?) about the non-reaction of certain Australian Aborigines when large European sailing ships appeared before them for the first time. They acted as if nothing were happening.

Lorianne – Wow, I should’ve asked you to guest-write this post! I had no idea redtails were growing so common in towns and cities. Then again, the great thing about blogging is that I can write about something where my knowledge is shakey or incomplete and count on y’all to set me straight in the comments.

Anonymous – Ravens too, eh? It’s funny how fluid many creatures’ habitat preferences are turning out to be. When fishers were reintroduced to Pennsylvania some 15 years ago, it was assumed on the basis of research conducted in the North Woods that they would stick to larger, older forests with lots of conifers. Instead, they’re spreading to all kinds of forested habitat across the commonwealth (including our hollow).