13 March, 2011

Never Say Die, Part Two

But an attempt to fly off with the squirrel proves that the hawk doesn't have it after all.
Looks at those wicked talons! Very impressive, even if they didn't hold on to the squirrel.  If you double click on the photo you can see a little blood on one of them.  Hmmm, hawk or squirrel blood, I wonder?
And there the poor squirrel lies in the snow where it was dropped by the hawk.  The hawk perched in tree only 15 feet away to keep an eye on the squirrel.  And that is how things stayed for an hour ...

I wondered why the hawk didn't go back for the squirrel.  I still wonder.  I fully expected to look out and see the hawk back on the squirrel eating it before it froze.  But instead I saw that the hawk stayed on its perch and the squirrel
manages to get the tree it tried for earlier and climb to the lowest branch.  You can see the wounds on its head and shoulder.
By this time the temperature was dropping from the high of 5F (-15C) to 3F (-16C) on its way down to -9F (-23C) during the night.  

The next morning, when I put out the birdseed, I fully expected to see the frozen carcass of the squirrel still in the notch of the branch.  Or perhaps on the ground at the base of the tree, but that was not the case.  I walked up to the site of the original capture and saw only a few drops of blood on the snow.  The site of the second capture and the drop had no visible blood at all.  

Three weeks went by with no sign of an injured squirrel showing up at the bird feeders (which could just as accurately be called squirrel feeders.)  I assumed the worst of all possible scenarios -- a squirrel dying a long drawn out death and a hawk going hungry. 

I left the country (for Belize, but that is another series of posts) on February 14th and returned February 26th.  Back into the weekend routine of armchair birding on Sunday February 27th, I was watching the usual assortment of birds and squirrels at the feeders when I saw a squirrel dive off the bird feeder and head for a tree faster than I have ever seen before.  Then all the birds and squirrels flew, hopped, or ran for cover as a red-tailed hawk flew over and landed in the neighbors' yard.  I kept an eye on the fast squirrel as it made a false start or two to come back to the feeder.  It seemed to have some injuries.
There is an area on its head with some puncture wounds.  Made from talons?  Maybe.
Is it the same squirrel?
i would like to think that it is, if only to have some symmetry to this tale.  But even if it isn't, this squirrel never said die.


  1. Great documentary and shots Wilma.
    Have a great week.

  2. A fantastic couple of posts Wilma, all the drama of nature captured there. One lucky squirrel, hopefully.
    And what a magnificent bird that hawk is.

  3. Amazing series - that squirrel is going to have a tale to tell its grandchildren!

  4. Wow these two last post are splendid Wilma... A very nice tale, the hawk and the squirrel, could be the fox and the squirrel... Maybe that squirrel just mimic death and was then able to escape ;-) It is difficult to say that it is the same, but maybe we just want to say it is the same ;-)
    fantastic nature scenes you got anyway!

  5. Nice blog! I would love to follow up:)

    Kah Wai

  6. Goodness! What a drama it was and well done for getting the photos. I don't think I could have watched, poor Squirrel I hope it did survive although of course I understand the hawk has to eat too.

    Temperatures of -23C!! That is colder than cold and must make Belize seem very appealing :) Nice to see you blogging again Wilma.

  7. That is some series of shots Wilma, well captured.

  8. Costas - thank you.

    Keith - yes, he is pretty darn lucky!

    Phil - it may well escalate to a tale of escape from an eagle or some such; you know how these things tend grow with the telling!

    Kah Wai - thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments.

    Jan - I had just assumed when I first saw the hawk that its prey was already done for. Boy was I wrong!

    Roy - thank you.

    thanks to all for visiting and leaving comments. Nice to know that somebody actually reads these things. :-)


  9. Chris - didn't mean to leave you out, sorry! He may have been playing possum to fool the hawk. Glad you enjoyed the posts and photos.


  10. Great post. Not even the hawks are 100 per centers.

  11. Great wintry scenes there Wilma...........

    Squirrels will inherit the earth one day. They lack an opposable thumb but I'm sure they're working on that..........

  12. Your temperatures are extremely low by our standards for the time of year, I'm glad that we live in a more temperate climate,that said your summers are much warmer than ours so we can't have it both ways.

  13. Wilma - This is a fascinating series of posts and the pics to go with it. Thanks also for dropping in on my Belize posts - we had a wonderful time, esp at DePlooys. Your comments when I was making plans were very helpful. It was great to be warm for a couple of weeks, but the adjustment to the lingering of winter is not so easy. Hope you can get your photos sorted and some posted soon.

  14. Bill S, Stu, David, and Chris P - sorry for not acknowledging your comments until now. Life has a way of derailing plans. But thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. I hope to be more active with blogging soon.


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