Last Saturday I spent the afternoon with my parents and two of my dad's three sisters. They were up for a visit from Connecticut. One of the conversations of the afternoon was about how we have been getting all sorts of wildlife through our yards here these last few months. I've had wild turkeys and rabbits. Mum has had an opossum up on her deck looking in the sliding glass door one morning when she got up, to various birds at the feeders, to a coyote at the edge of the lawn snagging a big of leftover bird suet.
Once I came home I decided to tackle cleaning up the kitchen. I glanced out of the kitchen window and thought I saw a wild turkey. Not an unusual sight, but upon further investigation, it turned out to be a pair of red-tailed hawks. Unfortunately this meant the untimely demise of one of our wild rabbits. Mrs. Hawk was so intent on feeding--there must be a nest somewhere nearby--she was not the least bit fazed when I got within six feet of her and Mr. Hawk. He was patiently standing by, almost sentry like, but he didn't move a muscle while she fed on the poor bunny. They sat there for well over an hour and a half. Eventually, she lumbered off and after a few minutes of looking around, he finished the rabbit off.
It was one of those experiences that was thrilling and upsetting at the same time. I was sad for our little bunny rabbit. It is always fun to watch them hopping around the backyard. But at the same time it was utterly glorious and amazing to watch these two magnificent birds of prey in my yard, withing a few short feet of me. I've always been fascinated by birds of prey, ever since I was ten years old when my parents took me to the birds of prey exhibit at the public library. Red-Tailed Hawks specifically been one of my all time favorite raptors.
For more information about hawks like these, please visit the Vermont Raptor Center website to learn more about their work with these beautiful creatures.