In Order to Grieve, Helen MacDonald Got a Hawk and Practiced Disappearing

Longreads

Hawks aren’t social animals like dogs or horses; they understand neither coercion nor punishment. The only way to tame them is through positive reinforcement with gifts of food. You want the hawk to eat the food you hold – it’s the first step in reclaiming her that will end with you being hunting partners. But the space between the fear and the food is a vast, vast gulf, and you have to cross it together. I thought, once, that you did it by being infinitely patient. But no: it is that you must become invisible. You’re trying to get her to look at the steak, not at you, because you know – though you haven’t looked – that her eyes are fixed in horror at your profile. All you can hear is the wet click, click, click of her blinking.

To cross this space between fear and food you need…

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