Urban Wildlife: The Garden Welcomes a Hawk

Sometimes urban wildlife is a little eerie, like a gangly coyote with a rat in its mouth, or utterly annoying, like deer that climb onto a deck to eat the hanging plants.  It can also be fascinating, educational and charming, like migrating birds or raccoon families.  Sometimes, though, it is simply welcome as a way of nature rebalancing things.

Here it is, watching from a metal stake. Photo by John McIntire.

Last fall, we had several birds of prey visit our community garden.  One was a Cooper’s Hawk, small and swift; another was a Peregrine.  Neither stayed too long.  Later in the winter and the very early spring, a big Red Tail came and stayed for a while.  It may have come back.

One of my fellow gardeners sent us pictures he took of our current, very welcome, visitor while at the garden.  He saw the hawk capture and eat at least one vole.  Needless to say, if it were so inclined, the hawk could feast for weeks in the garden.

Here it is sitting on what amounts to a vole condo. Photo by John McIntire.

Like the Red Tailed Hawk in my neighborhood (which has taken control of the once burgeoning squirrel population), I am hoping that this one will see the advantages of nesting nearby.  It would certainly have a regular supply of food for its young.  Even if it nests somewhere else, we’re all grateful for its hunting prowess as long as it decides to tarry.  And maybe it could take on a few rabbits as well…

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