CAUTION!!!! If you are squeamish or do not like the reality of nature then please do not read any further or look at anymore images. Just press the back button on your browser and check back tomorrow.
Yesterday morning as the soft morning light was making its way across our back yard I took my camera and morning beverage out to the patio to get an early start on my “bird feeder project.” The temperature was cool. Cool enough in fact that I lit the fire ring to provide some warmth.
After restocking the bird feeders I settled in one of the chairs and got the camera configured. I waited for several minutes but uncharacteristically there were no birds at the feeder. I looked at the trees in our back yard and there were 20 morning doves sitting on the branches. There were lots of birds sitting in the other trees but none were coming close the feeders.
Then I glanced to the right and saw the big red-tailed hawk. Ah ha, that’s the reason. He was sitting in the big tree to the West of our home. I couldn’t get an angle on him to grab an image and when I stood up he flew off. Damn another missed opportunity.
I sat there for ten minutes and still no birds came. I thought perhaps he is in one of the trees by the road so I venture around the side of the house and there he sat perched on School Zone sign.
I fired off a few shots and then he took off. Well at least I got a couple of butt shots if nothing else. As I was walking back to the patio I notice a little squirrel playing around the base of the tree near the street. It never occurred to me that he was what the hawk was interested in, that is until the hawk came back, circled and then swooped down close to the ground. So I grabbed my tripod and ran around the house to see what was going on. Sure enough he had caught the unwary squirrel playing on the ground and he had swooped down and caught him. I took about 30 images of him and the squirrel in their death struggle but I won’t show those images.
The hawk was frustrated with me so he half flew and half jumped about 15 feet away dragging his quarry with him. I thought the squirrel is too heavy for him to fly with it. I thought at one time about trying to scare the hawk away from his capture but then I reasoned that if he doesn’t eat he dies. My friend and DNR Naturalist Ann has told me before you have to let nature do what nature does.
Just as I tried to get a better angle on the hawk he got airborne. It was not an easy feat and I thought at one time he was going to hit the fence in our back yard but he and his prey just cleared it. I assume he flew down to the little pond, which is also fenced in with lots of trees and that is where he probably claimed his meal.
I have to admit I was saddened and thought it must be the little squirrel that plays in our back yard and eats from the ground. But happily about an hour later I saw him at the bird feeder eating away. He may be the next meal or one of the several rabbits that live in our neighborhood. The hawk has been around here for years and he continues to grow so he must be finding lots of food to eat. Remember you can click on any of the images to view a larger size.
That’s for today. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Enjoy your day and be careful.
I love the first photo in particular. Nice, low perspective and lovely light on this hawk!