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Archive 2013 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel
  
 
Duane N
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Congratulations to Duane N for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 24 votes - View Previous Winners


I've had one other opportunity like this several years ago but quite frankly I screwed it up. I followed this young Red-tailed Hawk around last week for nearly 6 hours as it hunted in various parts of the botanical garden I go to all the time.

2 other photographers left to go eat lunch so I was there watching the hawk as it sat in a tree. Another photographer who had also left earlier in the day returned after he saw my truck still in the parking lot so he knew I was still with the hawk. As we talked I noticed the hawk eyeing something very intensely and the other photographer said there was a Squirrel walking across the ground over my left shoulder.

It took 4 seconds from initial flight till the hawk got ahold of the Squirrel...it missed the flight strike but managed to run around the tree and catch the Squirrel from the ground.

1.







2. The chase is on...you can see blood towards the tail of the Squirrel at this point.







3. More chasing.







4. Almost got it.







5. Got ya....







6. The Squirrel struggled a lot and it took some time for the hawk to kill it.







7. Death bite.







8. Mantling







9.







10.








Jul 10, 2013 at 08:21 PM
David Leask
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Fantastic sequence Duane! Wow! Well captured.
David



Jul 10, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Shiva dancing
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Yikes! And I thought the squirrel would be able to outrun the bird once it was on the ground. Fantastic action sequence - well done Duane.


Jul 10, 2013 at 09:02 PM
brimull
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Informative series showing natural predation. Good sharp images. Usually it's the talons that do the killing; the beak is used for post-mortem dismembering and consuming. I observed a similar sequence with a large rabbit that was considerably heavier than the attacking Red-tailed Hawk. But the hawk had its talons on the rabbit's throat/neck area at the onset, and it took a very short time before the rabbit was no longer moving. It's startling and exciting to witness, but I must confess to feeling a quick and unexpected pang of sadness, also.


Jul 10, 2013 at 09:06 PM
canon.eos30d
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Fantastic set from start to end.

- Tam



Jul 10, 2013 at 09:07 PM
tfoltz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Awesome behavioral sequence, your patience paid off big time

-Tim



Jul 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM
douter
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Wow! Excellent! Patient observation pays off.
Douglas



Jul 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM
BeeBalm
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Duane,
Wow such impressive captures!! Bitter sweet I am sure!
Well done!! Your patience really paid off big time!
BeeBalm



Jul 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM
marklankton
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Wow, that is a real action sequence, telling the story start to finish. Congratulations on nailing it, too.
Mark



Jul 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Trey Neal
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Wonderfully captured. Well done on the sharp images of what must have been some fast action.


Jul 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM
 

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mak65
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Duane:

Very depressing. Not that nature takes it course but because I can't even get a clear, up close shot of a hawk at rest much less chasing prey ... And, you have 10 sharp shots!

All great captures. Way to be patient and wait it out!

I'm envious.



Jul 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Duane N
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


David Leask wrote:
Fantastic sequence Duane! Wow! Well captured.
David

Thank you. I've been photographing this hawk for about 6 months now. It's quite the regular around the botanical garden and I knew one day it would give me the opportunity to actually photograph it catching something. I've seen it catch 3 Squirrels, one Flying Squirrel, a Rabbit and a Lizard but never actually got the photographs as it happened until last week.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


Shiva dancing wrote:
Yikes! And I thought the squirrel would be able to outrun the bird once it was on the ground. Fantastic action sequence - well done Duane.

That's what I thought would happen but obviously this Squirrel was either in shock because of the initial hit or it was a young one. Either way the hawk ran around the tree once and on the backside of the tree it got ahold of the tail and when they came around to my side the hawk jumped and grabbed onto it permantly.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


brimull wrote:
Informative series showing natural predation. Good sharp images. Usually it's the talons that do the killing; the beak is used for post-mortem dismembering and consuming. I observed a similar sequence with a large rabbit that was considerably heavier than the attacking Red-tailed Hawk. But the hawk had its talons on the rabbit's throat/neck area at the onset, and it took a very short time before the rabbit was no longer moving. It's startling and exciting to witness, but I must confess to feeling a quick and unexpected pang of sadness, also.

The hawk initially had it by the back end and it kept biting it around the neck and head...I'm sure having those daggers dug into does the trick but the hawk didn't have good control of it at the start....they kept struggling for about 3-4 minutes.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


canon.eos30d wrote:
Fantastic set from start to end.

- Tam

Thanks....I was thankful just to be there.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:37 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


tfoltz wrote:
Awesome behavioral sequence, your patience paid off big time

-Tim

The 6 hours following it paid off I guess. Normally I would have left 5 hours prior to this but I had a feeling it was going to catch something and it was overcast so I said what the heck and I stayed.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


A fantastic sequence Duane and one that not many would capture so well technically. I'm amazed!

Curious, where did the flies come from so fast?? Was there something else rotting on the ground there or other remains/

Great work sir!
Karl



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


douter wrote:
Wow! Excellent! Patient observation pays off.
Douglas

Thank you.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


BeeBalm wrote:
Duane,
Wow such impressive captures!! Bitter sweet I am sure!
Well done!! Your patience really paid off big time!
BeeBalm

I'd rather see a Squirrel go out like this rather than being run over by a car. Nothing was wasted this time.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Duane N
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Red-tailed Hawk catching a Squirrel


marklankton wrote:
Wow, that is a real action sequence, telling the story start to finish. Congratulations on nailing it, too.
Mark

Thank you for the reply. It was an eventful day for me...actually a dream come true. A Red-tailed Hawk in my backyard is what got me into wildlife photography so this hawk is at the top of my list as far as favorite raptor.



Jul 11, 2013 at 12:41 AM
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