Friday, May 22, 2009

Suburban hawks and small animals

Yesterday, as I was walking by my window in my kitchen, I look out and stop dead in my tracks. What the heck is on my deck railing!?
I can hardly believe it! There's a hawk placidly sitting there!

I run and grab my camera to take pictures. When I aim the camera the bird turns his head in my direction. He sees me through the kitchen window and calmly looks me in the eye, allowing me to snap a few photos.

I've seen hawks overhead before, but never this close. I'm not sure what kind of hawk this is. (Red-tailed? Any guesses?) But what is it doing in my suburban yard?!

We live in Indianapolis but in a heavily wooded area near water. There's all sorts of wildlife co-existing with us. Groundhogs, foxes, and deer are regular visitors and neighbors claim to have seen a coyote. I can hear owls in the early morning and know that there is a nest of horned owls across the street. (They haven't been so polite as to pose for me though. They seem to take off every time I run for my camera.)

I never worried about them before. There is no way my 55+ lb black lab mix will ever be mistaken for a snack. But now that I have a 1 1/2 lb furball of a puppy, this puts a whole new perspective on things.

I've heard that a large hawk can lift up to 8 lbs. and sometimes more, so it could be dangerous to small pets. Hawks have fantastic eye sight and small animals are just prey to them. Mooshu could appear to be a rabbit, squirrel, etc., to them and they'll swoop. Even if a hawk can't successfully lift a small dog or cat it can leave some nasty punctures and tears in the skin which could require stitches.

We have never Mooshu unattended, not even once. Not even to answer the phone.

Seeing the hawk on our deck and having the photos to show to my kids, has really reinforced this.

11 Comments:

  1. Virginia Burnett said...
    What a beautiful bird! Just throw him some mice and explain that the puppy is NOT food . . . and don't let Mooshu out alone! :)
    Meekiyu said...
    wowzer yeah watch out for the little puppy... that hawk looks amazing... I don't think it's a red tail but I'm not expert... it's weird but in NYC we have hawks and falcons. Very rare but thee is a pair of nesting peregrine falcons overlooking Central Park. I think they're fascinating!
    Jo said...
    Wow! We see birds of prey flying over head at my parents sometimes (they live in far more rural an area than we do), but I've never heard of a wild one coming up that close before!
    I can see exactly why you never leaver Mooshu unattended!
    Fashionably Adorned said...
    What a great photo!! Hawks are amazing birds, I watched a show on them and how people who still use them for hunting train them,, fascinating.. but your right to not leave your mooshu unattended.. he would be a snack for sure!
    Pricilla said...
    Too small for a red tail..
    They are very smart birds. Do you have a bird feeder out? He is probably aiming for a mourning dove or the like. He is probably a goshawk...
    The Great Ethan Allen said...
    what a beautiful bird! Better be careful as long as your dog is still "rabbit size" or smaller. Once he gets bigger, I doubt birds will be a problem. How very nice of him to pose for your picture.
    Sweetwater Designs said...
    yes..he does have a teed off 'thwarted' look doesn't he? He's pretty fabulous tho..what a great shot!
    Split Rock Ranch said...
    Be vigilant even when you're out with Mooshu. My stylist was out on the deck with her cat when a large bird swooped down and snapped up the cat right in front of her! And it was NOT a small cat - she said it was the fattest cat in the county. These birds can get pretty cheeky some times so just be ever watchful even if you're right there with little Mooshu.
    Melissa said...
    We have them here in FL too. Like you said they would never take my 60 pound dog, but my moms teacup chihauahas would make a nice meal. My mom had to make a fenced in play area, with top to keep them safe, and from snakes too. If you have them do not forget about them awful things.
    Nancy said...
    Wow...I've never seen one that up close either. Weird. I've also heard stories of hawks picking up and flying away with small pets. Be careful with your little puppy!!! I know you will;)
    Anonymous said...
    My friend had her Papillion taken while she was right with it. He was eight pounds. Just came right down and grabbed the dog. He was not wearing a leash. If he'd had a leash she may have been able to get him back from said hawk. They are not shy. I have chickens and we have hawks nesting in our yard. If a chicken gets out... The hawk is there like white on rice. Not much you can do to deter them. I think our big dogs keep them at bay a bit. Be very watchful, keep Mooshu on a leash. Crap man crap.

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