I think many of us who admire predators love their beautifully-evolved forms, their tenacity, intelligence and unique lifestyles. An unstated part of the amazement I feel is that these animals actually kill and eat their prey. That’s pretty damn gnarly when you think of it. However, I also think those of us who get a lot of our nature via beautiful footage from the BBC or Nat Geo rarely see “nature, red in tooth and claw.” I was reminded of this as I watched the BBC’s excellent series “The Hunt”- it’s called “The Hunt” and not “The Kill” for a reason. There’s very little mayhem or blood to be seen. There’s a lot of slow motion HD footage of animals hunting (the segment with a Caracal leaping impossibly high while hunting birds is literally breathtaking), but the actual kill is left out. I understand that, but it does a disservice to the true nature of these singularly impressive creatures.
All of that is a way of introducing some really awful photographs I took last winter and filed away in the “I’ll do a blog post about this” section of my brain. The imminent arrival of a new laptop has harshed my inertia! Anyway, my wife noticed a large bird eating something in the snowy street outside our townhouse last January and when we looked with binoculars it turned out to be a Cooper’s Hawk feasting on one of the numerous pigeons in our neighborhood. We did not see the actual strike, but watched the hawk eat for several minutes, even with people walking their dogs right across the street (it’s a side street and not a major thoroughfare). After about 15 minutes, the hawk hulked its meal into the air and flew off. I went out to the remains and snapped some shots that really showed the full story of what predation is truly about. Keep on hunting, Coop!!!