Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hawk Vs. Squirrel

The sun was out and so was I, yesterday afternoon as I got off work. I went to a park I had not been to in a few months, to check out the fall foliage and see what might be scurrying around in my absence.

So as I entered the woods, I heard some people behind me. I didn't want to be in there with them, because they were quite chatty, so I turned around so that I could get to another spot before they would. So I am walking back out, when I heard them again behind me. Are you kidding me? They too, turned around. It was like I had a shadow. What the ? So I stopped dead in my tracks and let them pass me by. Buh-bye!

Anyway, I hear a familiar cry, and try to think of what it was...A hawk. I scan the trees and see nothing so I decided to sit under a shelter and wait it out. A few minutes later, a hawk swoops down low to the ground and lands behind a tree. I thought that he must have something behind there and wait. He takes off, with nothing in his talons, and lands low in a tree nearby. I wait...

Eventually, I see a squirrel climbing around to the front of the trunk of the tree, and then here comes the hawk...The next few images are what ensued...











He missed the squirrel, but let me tell you, he missed quite a few times. He swooped back and forth for what seems like forever, and all the while, I couldn't understand why this squirrel didn't run for his life up the tree. Well, the squirrel finally started climbing the trunk and disappeared behind some branches.

So I am still waiting for the hawk to swoop back, and minutes pass. I decide to move a bit closer to see if I can see the squirrel for the upcoming shots. As I stand at a decent angle, the hawk lands in the same tree under some leafy cover. I see the squirrel just a few feet away from him on the trunk. I click away, the hawk hears me and flies off.



A few minutes later, while I was waiting for the hawk to come back, I see the squirrel drop to the ground from at least 25 feet up. I thought for sure, he was dead. A few minutes later, I see him moving on the ground, but not with ease. The hawk definately wounded him, and by the way he was moving, he got it pretty bad. The fall couldn't have been good either. I knew it was only a matter of time...

Then, guess what happens? The 2 people from earlier come walking into view and reroute their direction towards me. I can't believe it. They walk right under the tree I was aiming at, and glide right past me, even though I was off the beaten path and minding my own business. Well, it isn't hard to conclude that the hawk didn't come back, so after the people were out of sight, I went to check on the squirrel. He found cover in some underbrush along a creek bed and skittered off away from me. I knew the photo op was over, and left the poor squirrel to nature.

It's not a very good ending, but at least there is an unknown factor. I hope you can recover squirrel!

Anyway...

Can anyone tell what type of hawk this was? I know it is not a red-tailed ,but was thinking red-shouldered because it was quite large, but I couldn't see the red.

23 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Very good.Nice captures.
Blessings,Ruth

Montanagirl said...

Great series of photos. Other people are sometimes pretty oblivious aren't they?

Chris said...

Wow what a sequence... I guess the squirrel was quite lucky and his weight probably saved him as well as it small claws against the tree!! I cannot help you with the name of the hawk, but your pictures are quite impressive. Hope the squirrel will do it!!

Eve said...

Amazing Hannibal! It looks like it could be a juvi Red-tail. That's quite a story and pictures. Too bad about the intrusion. Maybe that hawk was up hiding somewhere until everyone took off.
Great post!

fotoshooter43 said...

An amazing series of images!! Is it possibly a sharp shinned hawk?

Craig Glenn said...

Totally AWESOME captures H!

I am tweeting this one.

Craig Glenn

Maureen McHale said...

Great shots - and I loved the story...but, I gotta tell ya...I was rootin' for the squirrel!! What can I say, I'm a softy for squirrels...

Rattlinantler said...

It appears to be a first year Red-tailed Hawk. The "Red" on the tail doesn't appear until the second year and the underside of the wings has dark knuckles which would indicate a red-tail.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A brilliant series and a great capture.

Don't you sometimes wish there were no other people on the planet....they can be so annoying at times. :)

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

This was awesome! Came from Craig Glenn on Facebook!

Tina said...

Boy, talk about being at the right place at the right time..even tho you had those nasty people intruders you still got some amazing shots of what happens everyday in nature. I am definitely no birdee expert but this looks like the young redtail I, sometimes, see in my back yard. I have to tell you I'm still sitting on the edge of my chair from reading this and waiting to see what happened next..can't believe this post..very nice, Hannibal!!

Coy said...

I cannot help you with the ID but I must say this is an amazing series! Seldom does one get to whitness a close-up hawk attack much less photograph it.

Sadly some folks either don't understand photographers or most likely simply don't care. Squirrels are pretty tough little critters, maybe it will pull through.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hannibal: Wonderful captures of the fly by attack. You did a great job of capturing the action. Craig told me to check it out.

Nick S said...

That was some riveting stuff Hannibal.
I was scrolling down, almost expecting to see the poor squirrel getting whisked away lol.

Thanks for sharing this !

Nick S said...

PS. The hawk looks like a young Coopers...

Shelley said...

Awesome captures that truly show how WILD nature can be! (And darn those people for getting in your way!) It looked like a Coopers to me too. I had one in my yard yesterday stalking my chipmunk.

Bird Girl said...

Holy cow, Hannibal - I was on the edge of my chair...heart pounding...waiting to see what happened next! I can't imagine being behind the camera while this is going on...so AWSESOME! Darn those stupid people ;-)
What a neat capture - the kind we all long for....
I am no good at ID'ing - looks like an immature red-tail to me sometimes and like an immature coopers too???
Great job in difficult and breath-holding circumstances ;-)

Willard said...

An amazing, series!

Pescalune said...

Waouh - you really were at the right place at the right moment ! Amazing shots :)

Heather Crokus said...

Hello! I found your blog from a posting on Williards and reading your squirrel saga was great! Thanks for sharing, I hope to enjoy more of your adventures in the future!

Ken said...

What a great series. Enjoyed both the text and images.

prashant said...

Great series of photos. Other people are sometimes pretty oblivious aren't they? Work From Home

Johnny Nutcase said...

wow! so cool you got that on camera! i saw a Merlin snag a shorebird yesterday...but was on a kayak and missed getting the camera out in time. nice pics!