Saturday between Fringe Festival shows, Non Birding Bill called me on my cell very excited about a red-tailed hawk that was eating a squirrel ten feet from him in Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis. Official Fringe Festival Photographer Scott Pakudaitis was on hand got a couple of photos of this first year red-tailed hawk with its kill and was kind enough to let me use them in this blog entry.
NBB said that the hawk tolerated people walking around it, but at one point a guy was walking right at it oblivious to the bird and its kill. The hawk flew up into a tree to finally finish its meal when a gray squirrel started racing up the tree. NBB tried in vain to warn the live squirrel not to go in the tree. The squirrel went straight for the branch where the red-tail sat. The live squirrel charged the red-tail forcing it from its perch. As the hawk flew away, the live squirrel raced down the side of the tree and pursued the flying hawk from the ground. Once the hawk was out of site, the squirrel turned to Non Birding Bill. NBB threw his hands in the air and said, "Hey, it wasn't me. I'm just an innocent bystander." The squirrel then returned to its normal park activities. A bad ass squirrel, who knew?
And in keeping with the spirit of my new book purchase a few words from the master avian wordsmiths Forbush and May on the red-tailed hawk:
"When mice are scarce and hens are easily and safely obtained, now and then an individual Red-tail will get the chicken-killing habit and become destructive...It destroys so many noxious rodents and other destructive mammals that it should be allowed to live."