Birds of prey have long been symbols of war and military victory, and even today, 'hawkish' best describes the aggressor in a military or political context. In Hindu mythology, the hawk that precedes the warrior into battle is considered a good omen. In ancient Rome and Greece, the Gods of War, Ares and Mars, displayed both the eagle and the hawk as symbols of their power in battle.
When we speak of the hawk, we are also referring to the falcon, since in iconography they are indistinguishable. There are over two hundred species of hawks, and over sixty species of falcons, and both raptors are found on every continent except the Antarctic. They are naturally occurring in every ecosystem, from grasslands to deserts, prairies to seacoasts, and from evergreen to rain forests, and even the high Arctic. Most indigenous cultures have a story or myth that prominently features the hawk or falcon.
Possessing the keenest vision of all birds, the hawk can spot a mouse in the grass from a mile high, which makes this bird a symbol of enhanced perspective, or seeing the 'big picture'. Superior intellect and keen judgment are also attributes of the hawk. A hawk that appears on your horizon might indicate the need to abandon short-sighted views in favor of observing the larger world around you. A hawk design that attracts your attention as a possible tattoo, might be the perfect statement about your aspiration to achieve such a heightened state of consciousness.