Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roadside Cafe: Saga of a red-tailed hawk and a rabbit.

All photos by Jonathan Schechter 10/21/13  Brandon Township, Michigan

I was just a few hundred yards from my house driving home on my rural hard-packed dirt road when a sudden movement  caught my eye;  a large bird flew out of the ditch and landed in a tree perhaps 20 feet from where his take off point was located. I slowed as I approached and quickly noticed it was  red-tailed hawk, a young one I think.  As I reached for my camera in the car's back seat and squinted into the sunlight I could see he seemed to be swallowing  
and something  - a little piece of meat  - dangled from his mouth. 

 I watched through the car window for another few minutes until the watchful hawk grew
 uneasy at my roadside loitering and flew to the limb of another further away tree. 
I then drove slowly to the spot from which he had first appeared. 
The facts on the ground told the rest of the story.

A bloodied eastern cottontail rabbit was sprawled on his back in a most unglamorous pose and was most obviously the tasty late afternoon entree at this hawk's roadside cafe.   The rabbit did not appear to be pancake-flat as is the usual case when crushed by a car. My best guess is the rabbit was captured at the edge of my neighbor's closely cropped lawn and dropped by the hawk when trying to fly with his heavy prey. 
 I left so the hawk could finish his fine dining at this Oakland County (Michigan)
 all you can eat roadside cafe where all the food is fresh ---  and served very rare.


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