Thursday, February 12, 2009

And the Rabbit became a Red-tailed Hawk...

Our friend, Patty, sent us these shots of a Red-tailed Hawk feeding on a rabbit a few months ago. These pictures may be a bit disturbing for rabbit lovers. We occasionally hear from folks about how sad or horrified they are to find feathers or remains of a squirrel after a hawk has stalked their bird feeder.

And, I always find that interesting.

Because, I think one of the biggest reasons people feed birds (or rabbits or deer) is the pleasure of bringing nature a little closer to them.

It is difficult to understand why "nature" stops at the cute or non-threatening.

And, when we set up bird feeders or feeding stations for our pleasure, we are in essence, creating an artificial environment where large concentrations of prey gather and attract predators.


In this case, birds of prey.

The big boys of backyard feeders who will gladly take an easy target from a feeder, but whose hunting also controls over population of rodents, and culls the weak, injured or diseased.

Natural selection at work in your backyard.

Enjoying Darwin Day and sending birthday wishes to my always evolving Mom!


sandy said...

Wow, great photos...poor rabbit.

Anonymous said...

I love rabbits, but the hawk has to eat. I have come to understand this as I have bird feeders. At first I was horrified and now I see a the Coopers and sharp-shinned that come to the yard as awesome....Michelle

Anonymous said...

Good photos!

The Hawk must eat and the rabbit must die.... so goes nature.

Kim said...

I love rabbits and birds and all other critters in wildlife, but I too understand hawks need to eat and consider it an honor whenever they enter my yard.

anne beach said...

The crows let me know when the hawks are around. They gang up on a hawk, battling him off the front field where the crows like to hang around the fence and eat. I love our crows.

The scrappiest hawk we've ever come across was a little coopers hawk. Brazen. It's really amazing to watch a hawk literally drop out of the sky when they have their prey in sight.

And never too far behind the hawks are the vultures. It really is fascinating.

Dawn Fine said...

Gruesome post....I cant look..
♥ just kidding ♥ As a birder...I understand this has to happen..I still feel for the critter being eaten...funny how I dont feel that what about bugs, or snakes or rats for that matter when they are taken by prey...

Anonymous said...

Great photo. We have two Red tails in our rear property near tree line. Look to be building a nest. Have been roosting in same tree for a couple of weeks now. Have been eating each day and eating well. Seem to be squirrels and rabits. Great hunters. Birds are both mature and very large. Saw some activity that looked like courting today. We are hoping they do have young here. Jim and Grace Moore Have stills and video and both up close and very clear of them eating and flying and perching.ellof