My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Seconds feel like minutes!

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

I decided to drive the long way through Allegany State Park to visit some friends camping over in the Quaker Area. Along ASP Rt. 1 I noticed a hawk coming out of the grass with something in its talons and moving directly towards my vehicle! My heart just stopped, I quickly spiked my breaks and hoped not to hear any thump like sound! While trying to look over the hood of my truck for the bird, I found myself thinking “what are my next steps are if I end up hitting the bird”?? Suddenly I see the hawk flying past my vehicle with me screaming, “YES!!!”.

Common Garter Snake (well half of it).

Common Garter Snake half eaten

I don’t think that I will ever figure out what happened for those few seconds in front of my truck but the important fact is that this bird was flying up into the tree. I look in my rear view mirror and found this half eaten snake lying in the middle of the road. I pulled over and started photographing the Broad-winged Hawk perched up in the tree. While focusing my camera on the snake (for the perfect photo of the hawk taking the snake), I noticed it flying directly towards the snake and made an unsuccessful swoop. As it came around for a second swoop and the Broad-winged Hawk was then swooped upon by another hawk!!

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

I saw this Coopers Hawk and Broad-winged Hawk now fighting over this half eaten snake. After eyeing each other over . . . . the Broad-winged Hawk then chased the Coopers into the woods and I many times heard the two hawks vocalizing. I waited with my camera focused on the snake for about a half hour and then finally gave up waiting for the hawk to return. I decided to move the half eaten snake into the grass so the bird didn’t have any chance of being hit by another vehicle. The Broad-winged Hawk was still up in the tree (A good distance away) keeping an eye on the snake and I have to believe that it soon would be having a wonderful meal as soon as I disappear.

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

I ended up with a wonderful “bird adventure” to tell everyone around the Campfire once I finally made it to their camp site.

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24 responses

  1. Marg

    Wow Tom!! You sure have exciting adventures that must have been sooo cool! Thanks for sharing it with us

    26 July 2007 at 7:30 am

  2. What an encounter. Helps me appreciate how difficult it must be for birds to survive in the wild. Imagine if I had to fight over food in the grocery store like that! You needed a portable blind to catch the rest of the story.

    26 July 2007 at 7:38 am

  3. @ Marg – It was very cool and what is life without adventures?
    @ Ruth – thanks and you can compair this story with the harry potter books! Ok, maybe the I-phones or some of these video games that first come out! I agree that a portable blind is needed but I didn’t really have the 1/2 hour to spend watching anyways! But figured it would make a good post, so I was late!

    26 July 2007 at 8:00 am

  4. Ahhhhhh! The perfect photo opportunity and the hawks got shy. Darn!

    I’m glad you moved that snake. Too bad you missed a brawl that probably happened when you were a mile down the road.

    Wow. This would have made my day :o)

    26 July 2007 at 8:55 am

  5. Lucky you- right place, right time! I think the coolest thing about birds is watching them “be birds”. Very cool that you got to see them interact and tussle over food.

    26 July 2007 at 9:19 am

  6. Nice raptor story. I shouldn’t be anthropomorphizing, but the Broad-winged looks quite pissed. I haven’t seen a BW perched before, only in flight – it’s neat to compare its body shape to the Cooper’s and see how short their tails are.

    26 July 2007 at 9:30 am

  7. Awesome! So glad you only hit the hawk with your camera!

    @ Marie – I personally think that anthropomorphizing is OK. Birds and other animals wouldn’t interact with each other if they didn’t have feelings, thoughts, etc. They might not be the same as in humans but that doesn’t make them any less real.

    26 July 2007 at 9:47 am

  8. How neat to witness that. I’m so glad the bird didn’t get hit, that would have ruined your day. Those are two beautiful birds!

    26 July 2007 at 10:24 am

  9. Now THAT is a campfire story!

    26 July 2007 at 10:39 am

  10. Wow! And, uh, pass the s’mores stuff! 🙂 Great story!

    26 July 2007 at 12:51 pm

  11. What an awesome encounter Tom, whenever something like this happens to me my camera is usually in the bag.

    26 July 2007 at 1:02 pm

  12. That’s a heck of an experience – great, open views of two raptors AND a hawk fight. And a snake. And nobody died (well, except the snake).

    26 July 2007 at 1:36 pm

  13. Great story – very lucky to see two hawks like that, and the prey to boot. Glad you moved it. Glad hitting the brakes of your truck did not result in a “thump”.

    26 July 2007 at 2:20 pm

  14. Only YOU would have an experience like that Tom! So very cool!!!!

    26 July 2007 at 3:40 pm

  15. Didi

    Just reading your story I got so excite it..
    you know I love hawks and this is a story of a lifetime!

    26 July 2007 at 3:41 pm

  16. wow, amazing photos of nature!
    I enjoy nature ever since I was a baby 😉
    Your blog definetly going to brighten my vision on nature.
    I am dealing with many family crisis personally, your site really help ease a bit.
    Thank you!

    26 July 2007 at 8:03 pm

  17. Exciting Bird Story!-This is a nice post away fronm your banding station!

    26 July 2007 at 9:03 pm

  18. That’s a great story, Mon@rch, and with a happy ending. A number of years ago I was heading out on the highway to a long-anticipated birding trip to Cave Creek Canyon in Arizona and what was my first birding event? A grackle committed suicide on the windshield of my car at 65 mph. An inauspicious beginning and I know that horrible feeling of dread!

    26 July 2007 at 11:19 pm

  19. What a great experience! A few seconds of excitement in nature provides a lifetime of enjoyable memories. Can’t get much better than that!

    27 July 2007 at 8:35 am

  20. Great story and photos to boot!

    27 July 2007 at 11:20 am

  21. That’s a great story and fantastic documentary pics. I didn’t know that Cooper’s Hawks eat things other than birds. I’m glad to know that. They hunt our yard all the time.

    27 July 2007 at 1:07 pm

  22. Awesome! Glad you didn’t hit anybody.
    You know, a good Hawk ID post is in order over at my blog…
    Coop’s versus Broad-winged.

    28 July 2007 at 12:16 am

  23. Mon@rch- Great story and pix! It’s really hard to get a good shot of a broad-winged hawk. They’re alwasy high in the sky or deep in the woods!

    Thanks, too for the Blogger’s Choice nominations. You are kind and generous…..

    28 July 2007 at 1:22 pm

  24. @ Mary – thanks and isn’t that life? Glad that I helped make you smile!
    @ Lynne – thanks and I was in the right place for sure, although I might have almost been in the wrong place!
    @ Marie – It was for sure trying to decide what to do but also probably was more concerned with the Coopers!
    @ Birdfreak – Those are the kinds of hits that I like!
    @ Linda – thanks and it would have made my day worse for sure!
    @ Veery – it sure was! LOL
    @ Liz – sorry, all eaten already!
    @ Bernie – Ditto but this time I had it out because I was trying to capture a picture of a woodchuck not long before this!
    @ Marty – thanks and yes that snake wasn’t doing well!
    @ N Shutterbug – thanks and was glad that their wasn’t any “thump” sound!
    @ jayne – LOL< thanks!
    @ Didi – I do know you love those hawks! Thanks!
    @ cadence – so glad you made it over to my blog and hope things are getting better!
    @ Larry – thanks and banding is almost done for the summer! Only one more session and then I can get to more other fun things going on!
    @ LostRoses – thanks but, wow that couldn’t have sounded good! Poor thing!
    @ Laura – thanks and everything did happen so quickly!
    @ Adam – thanks
    @ Robin – I guess they take any opportunity when they are hungry!
    @ Susan – thanks and will head over to check out! I just knew you would like this post!
    @ BT3 – thanks and I was kind-of in the deep woods but along the road! Your Welcome and very deserving for sure!

    28 July 2007 at 8:43 pm

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