April 24, 2011

The red tail hawk would like to dine alone.

It's evening in the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, and the daffodils are in bloom. But there's a hawk, and what's he got there?

A confrontation between man and bird:



Photographed by Meade, edited by me.

53 comments:

Bruce said...

"Are you gonna eat that?"

Doug Wright said...

"Sir, The DNR Czar wishes to speak with you, immediately! Come along peacefully, sir!"

Rick Lee said...

Mmmmm... bunny.

Bruce said...

The kids are gonna be pissed off when they don't get any candy or Easter eggs this year.

galdosiana said...

It's hard to tell, but it looks kind of like a weasel. Were you guys able to figure it out?

Ut said...

This man, he does not have this rabbit.

This bird, he does not have this rabbit.

God is great, Sabu.

randy said...

Hey cool, a hawk, let's screw with it!

Jason (the commenter) said...

"Why can't I just eat my otter?"

Irene said...

Squirrel is a nice, sweet meat.

It's funny to see hawks when they are bopping king around on the grass.

P.S. This is why we don't believe in "Invisible Fencing" or in otherwise leaving the poodles in the yard unattended.

Anne B. said...

Thanks for running this - a couple of years ago I saw an odd bird in our neighborhood (in Chicago) which I couldn't identify, and now I know that it was a red-tailed hawk.

He can come to our garden any time, and clean out the squirrels.

edutcher said...

My God, whatever it was the hawk had, it was bigger than Sherlock.

PS I don't know that I would have gotten that close once the hawk raised its wings. I'd say you were being warned.

Big Mike said...

If neighborhood kids come around putting up posters about a missing kitty, I maybe know what happened to it.

chuck said...

Andre? Never heard of him. Now beat it.

Moose said...

I'm seeing in my mind someone creeping up on you in a Madison restaurant with a camera....
"Law professors dine alone!"

traditionalguy said...

Let the Big Hawks eat.

Robin said...

That's pretty hilarious, the hawk sure does not intend to share.

Stephanie said...

What an amazing experience to get so close and personal with such a beautiful creature.

Still, maybe you should have just sat on the ground and filmed without putting it through the stress of having to be on alert while trying to dine on it's catch. It allowed you the opportunity. Did you really have to push it?

Anyway, it was a great video. Thanks for posting it.

Lucius Septimius said...

I have a red-tailed hawk nesting in my backyard. He showed up about five years ago. Absolutely beautiful, and keeps the snakes and rats at bay.

Freeman Hunt said...

Neat to see one that close.

My mom lives in the woods and gets a lot of wildlife. She puts food out for birds, deer, and squirrels everyday. Now she has noticed that a lot of hawks hang out in her yard. It's a buffet for everyone.

rhhardin said...

You can get close to birds by disguising yourself pushing a lawnmower, and making successively closer passes.

John Burgess said...

So, the Easter Bunny chose the wrong moment to shape-shift into the short-eared, long-tailed morph. That explains the lack of a basket today.

k*thy said...

As cool as it is to be able to observe these types of things, I'd have to say that you crossed a line and inserted yourself into this.

Maybe get a cam with a better zoom?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

About fifteen years ago when we lived in San Clemente, one evening when we sat down to dinner I noticed in the tree outside our dining room window a red tailed hawk just sitting down to his dinner. I say tree, but it was barely more than a bush, and the hawk was no more than five feet off the ground. He was also no more than six feet from us, but I guess having the glass pane between him and us gave him justification to ignore my family and me. As we disemboweled and ate our spaghetti and meatballs, he disemboweled and ate his ground squirrel. It was a transcendent and amazing meal for us, if not for him.

David53 said...

That beautiful bird, that human taking taking the video, all the creatures of the earth, and the sun and stars are all just the product of chance and evolution?

Right.

JAL said...

I kept thinking Meade is one lucky dude who is pushing his luck.

I could anticipate a talon or two appriately placed to discourage the two legged interloper.

Hawks and other living things of this order do not like to share.

Quaestor said...

The prey is a groundhog (or woodchuck, if you prefer) which explains why it is being eaten on the ground. It's too heavy to carry away.

It is definitely not any kind of weasel or mustelidae. A true weasel is quite small and would be no problem for a Red-tail to overwhelm and carry up to a safe perch or nest. However, weasels are also mainly nocturnal so they seldom fall victim to hawks, large owls like the Great horned take them occasionally. There are several other members of the weasel clan in Wisconsin: the badger (of course), the pine marten (rare), the wolverine (not likely in the Madison area, and definitely not in a suburban area anywhere), the Northern river otter, and the Black-footed ferret (extremely rare, extinct throughout most of its former range) The prey shown in the video is too large for a Back-footed ferret. The badger, marten, otter and wolverine are too dangerous for a mere Red-tailed hawk to tackle.

The size and the blackish tail are the tell, it's a woodchuck. Delicious. No wonder the hawk is reluctant to let Meade steal it.

virgil xenophon said...

'Tiz GOOD to be at the top of the food-chain--''tiz GOOD to be KING!

Quaestor said...

I wish Meade had been content to film the hawk, and not to gone on after 9:04 to approach closer. The poor fellow had to abandon its kill and go hungry, thanks to Meadehouse curiosity.

James said...

Last summer I was reading in a park near home when I heard a commotion. When I looked up there was an adult Light-Morph Red Tail Hawk digging for worms and being attacked by about six Red Wing Blackbirds.

I grabbed my camera and crept close enough to fire off a few frames before the hawk flew away. Some of the photos are at this link: Light-Morph Red Tailed Hawk

Rick said...

Nice footage, and although I am all for humans over other species, I think it is better not to disrupt wildlife in situations like this.

ricpic said...

Hey cool, a hawk, let's screw with it!

Ditto.

Quaestor said...

'tiz GOOD to be KING!

Unfortunately starvation is the typical fate of most raptors, royal or not.

If I was a duly authorized wildlife officer and a witness to this "interaction" I probably run you in on a Federal Migratory Bird Act violation.

Michael K said...

Great video !

I love hawks. In Alaska they are eagles and poodles beware.

Quaestor said...

Great up to 9:04. Thereafter it sucks.

Big Mike said...

@Meade, much as I like you and Professor, I have to go along with Rick and Quaestor -- most hunts by any predator end in failure. Once they've killed their prey, it's best to leave them alone.

hombre said...

Not so artistic to drive the hawk away from its meal. Just mean-spirited.

TWM said...

"If I was a duly authorized wildlife officer and a witness to this "interaction" I probably run you in on a Federal Migratory Bird Act violation."

Naww, but you'd get a warning for sure. These hawks get killed quite often by farmers using restricted-use pesticides. They bait meat to draw the hawks because they sometimes prey on their chickens.

Robin said...

Kind of a skinny woodchuck if you ask me.

As for bothering the hawk, there is something to that but this hawk looks pretty habituated to humans. I think we can chill out on slamming Meade.

Lincolntf said...

Lighten up, people. I wouldn't have walked right up to the bird while it was eating, but it's not like Meade went out of his way to harass the winged beastie. The hawk will be fine. He lives in a world red in tooth and claw, a camera and some curiousity aren't gonna bother him much.

Meade said...

It didn't occur to me that I was harassing the bird but I see that now. So thanks to those who pointed that out. I was fascinated that he seemed to be allowing me to get as close as I got. After the video clip ends, I walked away and saw him return to what I think was a road-killed weasel. I really don't think I caused him to go hungry that day but I appreciate being educated to the need for keeping my distance in the future. And I will.

john lichtenstein said...

Last year I ran into a wounded redtail that was the age to just start flying. I didn't know how much human aggression they have so I didn't pick it up and instead went home for helpers and equipment. By the time I got back, someone, I suspect the transit cops, had already grabbed it. If I had known they are so tolerant of humans I would have just picked it up and driven it to the vet.

PatCA said...

The furtive footfalls...the off screen breathing...this is a suspense thriller for birds. Call it "The Men," directed by Hitchcock.

Titus said...

I would like to shoot that hawk and have him for dindin.

I went to that place and they don't let rare clumbers on the premises.

Fucking conservation peeps.

Titus said...

Remember that butter commercial...It's Not Nice to Play With Mother Nature.

Meade and Althouse I expected more. I am very very very disappointed.

Karl said...

Agree with the posters that advise to back the fuck off & let the bird eat.
Killing your food & eating ALL OF it is a non-trivial enterprise & shouldn't be dicked with for a blog post.
I have $50 to contribute for a nice tele-lens.
Seriously.

wv: unest was gonna bring this back to the u..nest

Ann Althouse said...

Meade was not as close as the video makes it look. He's zoomed in.

richard mcenroe said...

As I was driving to our Sunday rally with Deborah Leigh, we got to watch a hawk getting its tailfeathers kicked by a mockingbird. It was departing with a will.

I've also had one zoom by my head while I was hanging a flag between two trees. Magnificent creatures.

EDH said...

Althouse, off camera: "Ooo, another interesting confrontation. This could be spicey...

Yea, Meade, bring him a little closer."

Woodsman said...

Ann/Quaestor:

The hawk's prey as shown in the stills presented along with the trout lily photos is unquestionably a type of weasel. Its too large to be an ermine, more likely a mink. It's too small to be a fisher or an otter, though I'm not sure of anything other than that it is from the weasel family and not a gopher.

Deb said...

Out of my dining room window I once saw a hawk swoop down on a woodpecker. At almost the same moment, a cat crept up from behind and couldn't believe his eyes. As the cat approached the two birds, the poor woodpecker realized he did not stand a chance. Ripped apart by either talons or claws, what did it matter? The hawk saw the cat approaching and flew away, leaving the woodpecker on the ground. This distracted the cat who hestitated just a moment too long; the woodpecker saw his opportunity and took off as well, leaving a dumbfounded cat in midpounce going WTF?

Karl said...

This is gonna read like bullshit. But whatever.
Campground at Everglades National Park - Flamingo Fla.
1985 or so. Exact date is not important.
(There are NO flamingos there, BTW.)

We were warming up linguica (Portuguese sausages) on the typical park grill thing.

A red tail was perched in a near by tree watching this.

She wouldn't! Yes she will.
Bitch swopped down and grabbed a hot one right off the grill.

No shit.

No Name said...

or, you could have left the bird alone

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