Life In Three Dimensions

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

We humans live in what is essentially a two-dimensional world.  I know, we’re aware of changes in elevation, we obviously see and comprehend objects that project upward from the surface, and we climb and descend as we walk along.  But, think about it: we’re tethered to the ground and for most of us, our universe consists almost entirely of what we can reach with our hands down to the soles of our feet.  There are a few humans — gymnasts, competitive divers, circus performers, pilots, astronauts — who actually exploit and maneuver in space above the ground.  But for even these individuals their three-dimensional activities account only for a small part of their lives.  Most of the time they, too, are grounded.

But birds — and especially raptors — live in a totally different plane of existence.  These creatures fully exploit all three dimensions of their universe.

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For these creatures, maneuvering through space is as natural as walking is for us.  We tend to stand in awe of gymnasts and acrobats who can turn and twist while in the air.  For a hawk, that’s just part of life.

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These birds exploit their environment in ways that are hard to imagine.  A Red-tailed Hawk, for example, thinks nothing of soaring to an elevation that is 1000 feet or more above ground level.

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If the air currents are right the hawk can float up there, effortlessly, for hours on end, observing life below without fear of falling to earth.   For one of these hawks the ability to float in the air is not just a means of transportation.  It is opportunity.  Red Tails hunt prey from the soar, looking down and watching for unwary small animals to expose themselves.

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For these birds, three dimensions trumps two.

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Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, “M” setting, f6.3 @ 1/1600.

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