Hungry Hawk

As soon as I stepped out the door for a walk this morning, I heard a lot of crows making a huge racket down the street. They were perched on a telephone pole, flying up and swooping around like they were trying to scare off a hawk.

Of course I walked toward them to see what was going on.

A telephone pole with at least 15 crows perched on the cross piece and wires, seen from below with the wires and crosspiece forming diagonals.

By the time I reached the end of the block, the crows had given up and flown off. But I noticed people were out in their front yards looking up at a tree. It turns out the crows had been trying to scare off a hawk that had killed a pigeon and settled into the tree to eat it. At first I could only see the occasional feather raining down, until I moved to where I could see through a gap in the branches.

A hawk with light brown underside and darker brown wings, perched on a thick tree limb with branches and pine needles behind it, holding the remains of a smaller (dead) bird to the trunk with its claws, leaning over with its hooked beak.

The hawk was huge. It’s probably one of the hawks that I see around regularly, but most of the time they’re up in the sky or perched high enough I don’t have any sense of their scale.

A hawk with light brown underside and darker brown wings, perched on a thick tree limb with branches and pine needles behind it, looking up from its meal in the direction of the camera. Two cables run across the frame, not quite blocking the view.

People were still out watching (and the crows hadn’t returned) when I decided to continue on my walk. Usually I see the red-tailed hawks out by the nearest school field or the greenbelt by the power transmission lines, and I only see the smaller cooper’s hawks along the residential streets.

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