Sunday, November 20, 2011

Xena blogging

I knew it was there before my human caretaker.

She had let me out into the backyard and I knew right away there was something back there. I took off, but it had the advantage over me. It can fly. I can't. A delicious squirrel was in its claws. It cleared the fence, turned left between the garage and the church, flew through the stand of red maples and perched way on the other side of the property. All I could do was watch.

My human was way behind. She didn't see it until it was in the air, after I had already realized I had lost the race to catch it on the ground.

Unfair. I've been trying to catch a squirrel for two years. I wonder how I can get wings and drop down on one and fly away with it.

Now, here's the mystery. I found the kill spot. Just a few fluffs of fur, and only one drop of blood, just starting to set up. How can that be?

Note from the human: It took me a few seconds to realize why Xena, Warrior Labrador Retriever Princess of All Norwalk, was running hell bent for leather off the porch and into the yard. I got to the deck and it was low off the ground and rising, with the squirrel dangling from its claws. All I could get for identification was it was a hawk the size of a buteo and had a heavily barred tail. For a birder, that's frustrating. Immature Red Tail? Red Shouldered? Or did I have it all wrong? Was it the Goshawk that breeds along the Rte 7 connector? It all happened so fast. I saw it land. By the time I went into the house for field glasses, it was already gone.

Mind you, this is in the middle of a city in Connecticut. 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon.


DeanB said...

I think hawks usually kill prey by blunt trauma -- clenched claws hitting at high speed as the hawk dives. That would account for the scanty evidence.

Lois Keen said...

I think that's right DeanB. I remember a hawk walk to see a gyrfalcon nest. We had someone watching our backs because a parent could come up behind us and strike someone's head with the impact of a bowling ball.

As a follow up, our resident hawk was perched on the top of the steeple cross in our back yard, so to speak, for an hour this morning. I can never get enough of that!