A while back I looked out the window and saw a hawk sitting on a fence post. A prairie falcon, I think. That size, anyway. I watched it for awhile, wondering what he was doing there, before I saw movement at the base of the post. It was a squirrel. It was looking up at the hawk, and I could see that it was giving the bird a piece of its mind. It looked like a standoff. The hawk couldn’t get at the squirrel, but the squirrel couldn’t leave.
Or so I thought. The squirrel bounded away from the post and into my yard. Uh-oh. The hawk jumped off the post and swooped down on the hapless rodent. By this time the squirrel had disappeared behind a garden structure so I could only see the hawk. I saw it dip down and rise back up, but it didn’t have its prey in its talons. That happened a few more times before the squirrel came out from behind the structure, giving the hawk what for.
The hawk landed on the grass and they stood there looking at each other, the squirrel scolding energetically. Then it turned and scampered toward an ash tree close to the house. The hawk jumped up and flew after it, but it made it to the tree and it scurried up and around behind the trunk. The hawk flew around after it, but it stayed just out of reach, keeping the tree between them. After a couple of circuits, the hawk flew off and landed in another tree on the other side of the yard.
The squirrel watched it for awhile, then climbed down the tree and walked over to a spot below the bird feeder. There it searched for sunflower seeds dropped by the birds. It spent a good long time at it.
I caught motion in the edge of my vision and turned to see the hawk swooping down out of its tree. It glided straight and fast for the squirrel, who was still digging for sunflower seeds. Just before the hawk got there, though, the squirrel hopped to the side, evading the talons. The hawk pulled up and wheeled, coming around for another try. Once again the squirrel dodged. After a couple more attempts, the hawk gave up and landed on the grass again. The squirrel gave it a good stern talking to.
The hawk stood there taking the scolding, looking like a kid who’s been caught getting into mischief. Then the squirrel casually turned its back, puffed its tail, and sauntered back to the sunflower seeds. The hawk stared for awhile, then jumped up and flew away. The squirrel glanced over its shoulder, then went back to its foraging.
Nature might be red in tooth and claw, but sometimes the little guy wins.