Geese v. Hawk

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

I spent a long time Sunday morning watching the Race Street Red-tailed Hawk nest, trying to get a read on how the adult male and the two chicks are faring after the female was injured and taken to Tom Ricardi’s rehabilitation center in Conway earlier this week.

Life goes on, it seems.

The male has been spending a lot of time on the nest, helping the chicks preen and helping to dole out bits of prey — although, the chicks are becoming adept at feeding themselves, too.

Between stints on the nest, the male has remained an efficient hunter and provider.

I watched Sunday morning as an armada of geese — 9 goslings and about 15 adults — paddled down the canal toward the vicinity of the hawk’s nest. The hawk sat on the top rail of the fire escape. I looked at the hawk, and the hawk looked at the geese.

(c) Greg Saulmon 2012

When the hawk leaped from its perch the adult geese circled around their young. A few geese rose up out of the water, honked and spread their wings as the hawk approached. But the hawk made a last minute turn, away from the geese, and landed at the base of a stone wall right at the water’s edge.

The hawk sat with its back to the geese. But the members of the fleet were still wary: they approached the hawk cautiously, giving an occasional honk or flap.

As it turned out, the hawk wasn’t interested in the baby geese. Instead, it hopped into the air and then pounced, snatching something from the base of the wall. I haven’t been able to identify the prey — zooming way in, it looks like a small rodent, but the picture loses too much detail to tell for sure.

Clutching the morning snack in one foot, the hawk flew back to the fire escape and delivered the meal to the peeping chicks.

The geese continued down the canal. I followed them nearly all the way to Sargeant Street, where the young clambered up a grassy bank to feed while the adults stood guard.

More photos from the morning below:

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1 comment
  1. Lorrin said:

    Wow, your shots are such inspirations. It’s such a challenge to capture that perfect fleeting moment in time.

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