Monday, February 22, 2016

The Tale of the Squirrels and the Hawks

 It started out as typical morning with one of the pair of the Red-Shouldered Hawk perched in a big tree in our backyard(note the squirrel in the tree behind the hawk in another tree).  The birds and Grey Squirrels paid the hawk no mind at first.  Then one of the squirrels seemed to notice the hawk up in the tree and then...

 He climbed up the tree and bravely headed up the same branch as the hawk was on.  I held my breath wondering what was going to happen next.

He curiously tried to figure out what this hawk was doing in the tree while the hawk stared back.

The squirrel almost turned back but decided to keep going.

 The squirrel got as close to the hawk as he is in this photograph and then seemed to reconsider what he was doing.  After this, the hawk flew off to a quieter spot so it could hunt.  At that point, I thought the story was over but then the second member of the Red-shouldered Hawk pair flew into the backyard.

I'm not sure if it was the same squirrel or another one but whoever it was again seemed to notice the hawk in the tree.

 Again,  The squirrel getting very close to figure out what this hawk was doing.

 The squirrel considering jumping to get a closer look.  The hawk just stared at him probably trying to figure out what the squirrel was trying to do.

 The hawk twisting it's head to get a better look at the squirrel.  After that the squirrel lost interest in the hawk and went back down the tree to feed.  It was an amazing thing to watch.  Why would a squirrel or squirrels show so much interest in a bird that is known to prey on them? Is it curiosity? Stupidity? Something instinctive?  I don't think we will ever know what was going through the minds of these two animals but it was interesting to watch.  What strange behaviors have you seen between prey and predator? Share your experience in the comments or on the Facebook page.

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