Spirit Animals: 4 birds that symbolize Vision – what’s the difference?

snowy owl
Photo by English

HAPPY SPRING! Someone was telling me recently about going up to Brockway Mountain for the spring raptor migration. Apparently they won’t migrate across Lake Superior, and instead go around the land way, with the result that sometimes you can see dozens of eagles and other birds of prey in one day at this spot. Wow!

I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to get up that way this spring. If I do I’ll certainly share the experience with you. But just hearing about it got me thinking about vision.

Raptors (birds of prey) all have amazingly sharp eyesight to help them locate and catch their prey. As spirit animals, they all represent Vision – the kind of energy that can help us gain focus and clarity in our lives. However, each one channels this energy in a slightly different way.

Here is my interpretation of the different flavors of Vision as represented by a few of the most popular raptors:

eagle-detailEagle:  Eagle is the consummate crown chakra animal. Its energy is all about spiritual vision, and connection with the sacred. Don’t be surprised if Eagle shows up for you as a confirmation that you are on the right spiritual path.

red-tailed-hawk-947416_640
Photo by skeeze

Hawk: To me, Hawk feels more aligned with the third eye chakra. Its vision is more about observation and intuition, and developing those powers within you so that you can gain clarity on your path and goals in the world. This spirit animal may show up to help you gain more clarity around your life purpose or self-realization.

peregrine falconFalcon: Falcons are amazing fliers and hunt on the wing, barreling into their prey (typically smaller birds but also ducks) at a couple hundred miles per hour. Falcon vision is about keeping your goals in sight and taking swift decisive action to achieve them.

horned owl
Photo by Chräcker Heller

Owl: The most mysterious of the raptors, Owl is nocturnal and has incredible night vision. It can also turn its head 270 degrees around! Spiritually, this translates into deep intuition and full awareness of what is going on at all levels of being. Owl also has a strong connection to the deep feminine.

Hopefully this will help you to sort out what kind of “vision” is being referred to if one of these “vision birds” flies into your awareness!

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If Red Tailed Hawk is Your Spirit Animal…

Red tailed hawk with preyWhere I live in Upper Michigan, Red Tailed Hawks are a common sight. (They are probably the most common North American hawk, and can be sighted year-round throughout most of the continental U.S.) You usually see them either majestically circling on uplifts of air, or sitting in a tree or on a power line, apparently doing nothing.

Appearances are deceiving.

Unlike the Peregrine Falcon, the Red Tailed Hawk hunts by perching in a likely spot and waiting and watching for its prey. (This makes sense because Falcons prey largely on birds, while Red Tails prefer mice, squirrels and other small mammals.) It is an efficient way to hunt; allowing the Hawk to remain physically relaxed while waiting for prey to appear. However, don’t mistake relaxation for laziness. The Hawk has to remain hyper-alert. Overlooking even the slightest movement below may mean a missed meal.

So, if Red Tailed Hawks don’t hunt on the wing, why do we see them so often soaring in the skies?

Well, apparently they just love to fly! And who could blame them for taking wing in celebration after a well-earned meal? But according to master falconer John Blakeman, there’s more to it than that. He believes that a sated Red-Tail’s flight serves an important purpose: as the hawk flies above the landscape, it takes in information that could help it land its next meal.

“…(A)s our Parkway red-tails have flown around their Philadelphia neighborhood in the last year, in all seasons and weather conditions, they have been diligently recording just where they’ve seen potential prey. That’s where they are going to go when they want to hunt, when they or their eyasses are hungry. They have learned to cogently read the entire landscape the occupy, and know exactly where the next meal’s most likely to be found.”

What does Red Tailed Hawk teach us?

If you find yourself drawn to the Red-Tail, consider what it has to tell you about choosing and pursuing your goals in life.

First, Hawks in general are all about Vision. The eyes of Hawks and other raptors (birds of prey) have special adaptations that allow them to see with far more clarity and focus than we do.

When Hawk appears to you, it’s a call to pay attention to the vision you have for your life. Red-Tail teaches us to take in the whole scene first, before planning your course of action. Get a feel for the lay of the land and where the best opportunities are likely to be. Then stake out your territory.

But don’t waste your energy in mindless activity. Instead, take a relaxed position and wait and watch until something juicy comes into view. Then, don’t let it out of your sight but claim your prize quickly and decisively.

What if it’s not a Red-Tail?

The Red-Tailed Hawk is just one of many species of hawks in the world. (There are over a dozen hawk species native to North America alone.) They don’t all hunt in the same way. If you suspect that Hawk is your spirit animal, pay close attention to what particular species you are dealing with. Remember, there is more than one way to approach a goal. Studying the hunting habits of your particular hawk can help you find the style that is best for you!

photo credit: Red Tailed Hawk via photopin (license)

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the "follow" tab in the menu up top to subscribe.