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A Counterfeit Hawk
Photo: Jeff Jones
A family of red-shouldered hawks is nesting in a big pine, just behind my bedroom window. I have written about them before. We have grown fond of our new neighbors. The hawks’ presence has allowed us to harvest our garden before the birds and especially before the neighborhood squirrels get to it.

We watch for them when we are in our back yard. We get quite a show. The two fledglings hatched this year are now young adults. You can tell them from their parents because they are smaller and darker. You can also hear them. Like young adults of many species they delight in loud music. You can hear them keening to each other from the branches of the pine or the old oak in the back of my yard. “Here! Here! Here!” they announce.


It turns out it is not always the hawks I am hearing. Yesterday I was in my back yard, and two birds were calling to each other. I saw one of the young hawks in the pine tree, giving its characteristic cry. A second or two later the call was echoed from the other side of the yard. There are no big trees on that side of the yard—not one large enough for a hawk to perch on. Yet one hawk was calling from the pine, and a second was replying from the wrong side of the yard. I tried to find the source of the response. It was coming from the top of a crepe myrtle, a bush far too light for a hawk. Puzzled, I looked more closely. Finally I saw the source of the responding call. It was not a hawk. It was a mockingbird. The hawk in the pine was issuing a challenge, a song of love, or a call to the hunt, not to another hawk—but to a mockingbird. The mockingbird in turn, would perfectly mimic the call in response.

It reminded me of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 24. He warns of false prophets that will come claiming to speak for him. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:23-24). 

I was certainly fooled by a mockingbird—until I looked closer. We too, should look closer when someone comes claiming Jesus' power or His wisdom; especially when someone claims Christ’s mantle for a cause or purpose that is secular or contradicts the Bible. The voice you hear might not be the hawk or belonging to the voice of Jesus. It may be a mocking one.

“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:5).

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By Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2007, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®.

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