Hawk

The birds are so generous — their chorus awaits my every morning.

Beginning with a spoonful of tuna for each cat — Rudy Boy Jones, who smokes, and Jasper Johns — I scurry around starting the coffee pot, watering plants and finally — opening the doors.

Yes, the bugs have not yet made this a miserable decision. And even before their opening, the music of the birds provides the impetus for my bike ride, knowing when I start pedaling the melody will swell in volume, creating a tailwind in my mind — making the 10 miles easier.

With birds on my mind, my eyes locked on a photo in last month’s Smithsonian magazine. Rosalie Barrow Edge is featured on p. 68.

The article, “How Mrs. Edge Saved the Birds,” by Michelle Nijhuis, discusses the beauty of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Eastern Pennsylvania, creating a need to go.

“The abundance of raptors at North Lookout owes a great deal to topography and wind currents, both of which funnel birds toward the ridgeline,” the story reads. “But it owes even more to an extraordinary activist named Rosalie Edge, a wealthy Manhattan suffragist who founded Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in 1934. Hawk Mountain, believed to be the world’s first refuge for birds of prey, is a testament to Edge’s passion for birds — and her enthusiasm for challenging the conservation establishment.”

And according to Audobon.org, she was “the most honest, unselfish indomitable hellcat in the history of conversation,” as described by the New Yorker in 1948.

The amazement of being famous enough for inclusion in an article today has me wondering — what exactly did Ms. Edge do?

The website reads when she was 52, she dedicated her life to the preservation of American wildlife. Utilizing her acquired skills during the Suffrage Movement, she wrote pamphlets on wildlife facts, dispelling myths leading to the mass killing of many wildlife species.

“She battled with the predominately male run conservation organizations, including Audubon for conspiring with hunters, developers, and ranchers. She berated them for supporting bounties on bald eagles in Alaska, and not honoring their commitment to conservation,” the website reads.

Inspired to create the Emergency Conservation Committee in 1929, it emphasized the need ‘to protect all species while they were common so that they did not become rare.’

Then in 1934, after learning of a Pennsylvania tradition where thousands of birds of prey were killed for sport in the Appalachian Mountains, Edge purchased the property, stopped the hunt, and turned it into the world’s first preserve for birds of prey, known as Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, where an average of 20,000 eagles, hawks, and falcons migrate through each year, the website reads.

In addition, Ms. Edge was an integral part of the campaign to preserve 8,000 acres in Yosemite National Park, helping to create Olympic and Kings Canyon National Parks, according to the research.

For people like Edge to fight with folks to realize what joy a bird’s voice can bring to a morning — I say, “Thank you.”

The late poet Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”

Appreciating the music; and that is all.

News Editor Carolyn Harmon can be reached at charmon@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7058.