I understand, and yet
Monday May 16th 2011, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

San Jose holds a competition every year across their elementary schools to name the peregrine falcon hatchlings around banding time; after the fledgings, the winners get to attend a ceremony with the Mayor and have their names in the newspaper. It is one of those delightfully small-town parts of Silicon Valley.

And so it is that one young child is going to be standing there receiving an honor for having named Unita.

On the peregrine forum, one member wondered out loud if we should even be giving them names, saying, they are wild things, they are not pets; I’m sure he wondered what this was all going to be like for the poor little kid.

This was my response.

When the children are searching for what to name the falcons, they are
considering and discussing not just words and labels but the meanings of
those words and what they might carry and convey well into the future on
the wings of these magnificent birds. They learn about the nature of

When one of our falcons dies, they have a chance, rare for many young
children in our society, to consider the meanings of all that life is.
They learn about the nature of Nature--and that the joys come to
outweigh the sorrows as they watch the living continue on.

And I would add, they learn the compassion that grows up from the ashes of the grief.

There were two eyases who successfully fledged from San Francisco’s nest today–and one had been given the name Phoenix.

To life!

6 Comments so far
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Phoenix. Love it – and that explanation of yours.

Comment by Channon 05.17.11 @ 8:49 am

rising from the ashes, carried up by the flames


Comment by Bev 05.17.11 @ 9:03 am

Your explanation is right on target. Obviously a learning experience.

Comment by Don Meyer 05.17.11 @ 9:16 am

Eloquently phrased by one who clearly knows what she is talking about!

Comment by shadylady1216 05.17.11 @ 10:09 am

Words, carry power, I can’t see a falcon named Leslie or a human of that sort.

Comment by kristy phipps 05.17.11 @ 2:28 pm

In the act of naming, they have made a bond with these wild things, something that will guide them in their future decisions about how to treat wild creatures. And in sharing their sadness over Unita’s death, they bond with each other, and learn more of how to treat their own kind.

Comment by twinsetellen 05.17.11 @ 5:36 pm

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