Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hawk alert!

There's a hawk in the house! We can't see it but the squirrels sense it. They all suddenly go into tableau mode: frozen in place like statues.

Then the racket begins: squirrels talking to each other, sending out signals over the network. Then some of them make a dash for a tree, while others remain in place.

This squirrel dove head first into the nearest trash can!
We check around and don't see a thing, but judging from the look and sound of things, this threat is real. It's probably a red-tailed hawk, which is the most common bird of prey in this area.

This is the time of year when hawks are likely to appear, because when the leaves come off the trees  it's easy for them to spot prey. Speaking of spotting things, squirrels do not have great eyesight, so how do they know when a hawk's around? They seem to have an ability to sense a predator and communicate its presence without even seeing it.  It's sort of like the way many squirrels suddenly materialize out of the woodwork when you show up with a bag of peanuts. :)

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