On August 30, 2023

Mountain Meditation: Killington is for the birds—Hawks, crows, turkeys and hummingbirds

Wildlife sightings and signs part 3

Indigenous cultures throughout the world see animals as messengers from the Great Spirit. Each creature is a teacher of how we can heal and tap into our personal power. At a yard sale, I happened upon the book and deck of “Medicine Cards” by Native Americans Jamie Sams and David Carson. Their insights opened my eyes to the mysteries of the divine nature of creatures as a blessing in our lives. Animals may appear in dreams, meditations, or cross our path in the physical sense. They have the ability, if we are open, to influence and guide us through their sightings and signs.

A powerful messenger we’ve hosted on occasion is the majestic raptor, the hawk. When we heard high pitched cries, we scanned the treetops and spotted two chicks clinging to a dead tree. Their mother joined them several times, feeding them whatever she’d found. Hawks often feed on other birds, but our chipmunks disappeared that summer. A VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) instructor said we were most fortunate to have hawks nesting in our yard. They may have been Cooper’s Hawks, but there are 7-9 hawk species in Vermont. 

Hawk is considered a Divine Messenger. Hawk teaches us to raise our awareness, observe and pay attention to signs. Hawk inspires us to visualize life from a higher perspective.

Perhaps our most frequent visitor is Crow who shows up most days in our backyard. But ever since the coyote’s arrival, crows haven’t been present—except for one incidence when I heard a huge ruckus, as if Mother Nature were screaming “bloody murder.” Crows were dive bombing from trees in the woods. I suspect they attacked and scared off the coyote.

Since crows remember friends and foes and pass on their grudges for generations, I hope they’ll continue to run off the coyote. (I wouldn’t want to be their enemy.)

Crows are curious and highly intelligent, with a large forebrain similar to humans’ prefrontal cortex which provides both species with high level cognitive skills. This fascinates me because after my bike injury I received speech therapy. It included practicing “executive skills” like problem-solving and decision-making, two human- and crow-shared abilities. “The more we learn about crow brains, the more humanlike they seem” is an informative article from DiscoverMagazine.com.

Crows often live in extended family groups. Older siblings stick around, help find food and protect the nest. Sometimes a family with one hungry chick wakes me up outside our window. If I move the curtain they fly away, but if I “caw” back, they’re curious and remain. Although I’m a novice in the crow language, they are forgiving and know I’m not threatening.

Crow represents a door to the spirit realm. Crow Medicine asks us to stand in our truth and live in harmony with universal laws. Crow calls us to know our mission in life and let personal integrity be our guide.

Sometimes turkeys gobble and wobble across our grassy hill out back. They travel and graze in extended family groups. When threatened or startled, they fly up and perch like strange blobs in trees in our woods. Turkey Medicine is virtuous and generous. Turkey sacrifices itself for the flock. Turkey is known as the “give away eagle.” Turkey, like life, is a sacred gift.

Each summer day red-throated hummingbirds hover at our two feeders and potted flowers that inspired many of my mother’s poems. She loved watching them sip, hover and dart, flapping their wings 70 times a second. I am amazed how hummingbirds protect their offspring and mates at the feeders. 

When others approach, they dart like dive bombers towards one another ‘til the boldest claims the feeder.

Native American Hummingbird Medicine offers laughter, playfulness, relaxation, and joy. The tiny creatures add magic to our lives. Hummingbirds are quick and resilient. They have a lightness of being. Although they are tiny, they are strong and independent, capable of traveling great distances.

My mother sends us signs from the other side through hummingbirds, sunsets and butterflies—all passions she enjoyed in life. She also uses the number 11, which shows up again and again. How would you choose to communicate with loved ones from the other side?

Marguerite Jill Dye is an artist and writer who divides her time between Florida’s Gulf Coast and Vermont.

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