Watch Hughes’ video of the hawk with its squirrel below.
AVON – A sharp-eyed D’Angelo Parkway resident captured the circle of life in motion on her lawn.
At first, the grounded bird looked to Kristi Miettunen Hughes like it might be hurt. When it took the shape of a hawk, Hughes realized that a wild and ancient drama was unfolding just a few feet away.
“I was outside in my backyard working from home for the day,” said Kristi Miettunen Hughes. “I saw the hawk land in my side yard. It was very still and I thought maybe it was injured and then it turned around and I saw that it had the squirrel.”
After a second, it became clear that things were not going well for the squirrel. Though the scene was tough to watch, Hughes said that she appreciated the chance to take close-up pictures of the predator and its wild meal.
“It seemed to be suffocating the squirrel, which was hard to watch but also fascinating,” said Hughes. “I was lucky enough to capture the hawk taking off with the squirrel in flight.”
The hawk is a red-tailed hawk, likely America’s most common bird of prey. Red tailed hawks’ secret to success is that they are not specialized for or dependent on any specific prey item. They are predators of many prolific groups and families of animals, including lagomorphs like rabbits, reptiles like snakes and rodents like mice and this squirrel.
The squirrel is one of America’s most common tree-dwelling rodents. Though prolific in urban environments, in rural areas they are useful to nut-bearing trees as they disperse uneaten nuts far and wide, hiding them for later and often forgetting them.