Sunday, August 14, 2011
|Red-tailed hawk |
photo by Barrie Lynn Totten Wood
I try not to be a distracted driver when navigating the endless ribbon of concrete and asphalt we call Interstate 75.
But a few days ago as I headed south not far from my entry point at Exit 89 (Sashabaw Road) I could not help but be distracted.
The highway patrol is out in force.
They distract me no end.
And I noticed one pair of eyes hidden in plain sight adjacent to my entrance ramp.
If you are spotted by the Highway Patrol in the waning days of summer a quick death may await you; that is if you are a grass-chewing meadow vole, leaf-munching rabbit or nut-happy squirrel paying more attention to gluttony than the shadows and eyes in the sky.
The red-tail is a keen-sighted sky warrior, a beautiful and powerful hawk with the ability to hover in flight and then descend with sharp talons outstrechted to secure a meaty fur covered meal.
These common North American hawks adapt well to opportunity and that is what many do when major highways are part of their habitat.
Why fly about searching distant fields when one can perch roadside and still hunt, waiting for potential prey in the human created zone between the edge of the shoulder and woods?
Barrie Lynn Totten Wood photo