When a predator comes calling

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”
― Jack London
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(red shouldered hawk / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Gather up the woman and children,
and katy bar the door. . .
there’s a new sheriff in town”

It was raining.
It was also the middle of the day.
Glancing out the window, I spot something a bit out of the ordinary.
There, in the middle of the yard, in the middle of the rain, stood a bird.
And not just any bird mind you.
I did a double take.
That’s no crow. . .
Hummm. . .

By all appearances it seemed that an apex predator was making himself at home in the middle of my back yard.
And as it is most common to spy hawks soaring over head, seeing one standing in the middle of one’s yard was a bit unsettling.
Was it hurt I pondered.
Had it seen a mouse and swooped in for the kill?

I usually see hawks overhead, on a clear blue sky kind of day, lazily circling, contently catching a thermal and often being harassed by crows and mockingbirds doing their best to send the predator flying away from unsuspecting nests and young.
Growing up in the middle of Atlanta, hawks were a common sight as they are birds which appear to adapt well to change and urban growth. What do you think keeps all those city pigeons in check? However seeing one strolling around the yard is not so common.

I grabbed the camera and began snapping away. Unfortunately I was taking pictures through the slats of the shutters as I was afraid to make any noise or noticeable movement, plus I was shooting through the rain—the resulting pictures are grainy at best.

I never did see anything that he was actually chasing nor did I note an injury. He ran around a bit, which actually had me laughing as he looked a bit silly darting about in the soggy grass in the pouring down rain.
I was thankful our cats were indoors as I have read that a hungry hawk is not deterred by small dogs or cats–hunger is hunger and a predator can’t be choosy.

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Eventually my feathery friend must have tired of trotting through the wet grass as he decided to fly up to a nearby small tree, confirming that he was most likely not injured.
And whereas I enjoy such encounters with the wilds of nature, I just hoped this bird was merely visiting and had not decided to take up residence. Remember, I’m wanting to get a few backyard chickens- – – as the coop is vacant, ready and waiting—No chicken dinner here, no siree.

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