Dec 04 2010

Hey! Back Off!

Published by at 7:30 am under Birds of Prey,Mammals

Red-tailed hawks eat squirrels but red-shouldered hawks, like this one, are a little too small to make squirrels a normal part of their diet.  Perhaps this squirrel knew that.

A few years ago Steve Gosser saw an immature red-shouldered hawk perched quietly in his parents backyard.  While he watched, a gray squirrel climbed the tree and made a beeline for the hawk.  Did the squirrel want to challenge the hawk?   Who would win?

When the squirrel got too close, the hawk puffed open his wings. 

Hey!  Back off!

The squirrel got the message and left the tree.

(photo by Steve Gosser)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Hey! Back Off!”

  1. Frank Corrention 04 Dec 2010 at 8:31 am

    You know these animals! But my money is on the hawk.


  2. Anne Marieon 04 Dec 2010 at 10:30 am

    Does Mr. Gosser have his camera with him at all times? He captures some great moments! thanks

  3. Steve Tironeon 04 Dec 2010 at 11:00 am

    That’s amazing. Do squirrels really know the difference between Red-shouldered and Red-tailed hawks, then? Who is safe to challenge, and who is not? What a strange thing to happen.

    While I was living in Arizona, I watched a young quail hold off a Great Horned Owl for a while, on my front porch one night, seeming to scare the owl each time he got close. Finally the owl just swooped in and grabbed the quail like it was nothing, and plucked and ate him on the railing. My cat quite enjoyed the whole show.

    Lesson for the squirrel: don’t push your luck, buddy!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 04 Dec 2010 at 11:46 am

    Squirrels might not know the difference between the species — or care — but I’ll bet this squirrel thought he’d found a hawk he could threaten safely. 😉

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