Just before Christmas I was out with the dogs after dinner -- taking the usual early evening walk. As we headed down to the wooded area of the yard a hawk swooped across the street and into the woods. I could see that it had something clutched to it and I figured it was a squirrel. I also figured it was far into the woods -- so the dogs and I continued on with the walk. But -- Sadie saw it too and she was very intrigued about going in after the hawk.
On our way home from the walk I always take the dogs in through the edge of the woods -- they think it is fun -- kind of like they get a walk in the woods hunting for something. As we walked through the pathway I could see the hawk on the ground to my right. It was really getting dark by now but the movement caught my eye -- and the eyes of the dogs. The hawk also saw us, grabbed the prey and flew off deeper into the woods. I decided to come back there in the daylight to see if it had been a squirrel or chipmunk.
The next day I found clumps of small fine feathers and many longer feathers -- all off white to a grayish color. I could only figure then that the hawk had a dove. I happened to see a friend that day who is a birder and a photographer. He told me great details about what type of hawk it was and which hawks hunt other birds and which go more for mammals. The hawk I saw was most likely a sharp-shinned hawk because I noticed the tail feathers were straight across. A Cooper's hawk has a rounded tail. Both look alike and are small to fly into a heavily wooded area -- and they hunt other birds -- mostly doves. The red-tailed hawk I saw in our yard before -- I thought it did have a squirrel. he told me that they do indeed hunt mammals more than birds -- but a hungry hawk will do what it has to do.
For days the dogs kept wants to visit the area where the hawk first landed with its dinner. This was not a gory scene -- just feathers scattered around. I liked the way this small bunch looked on the old log. This was taken late in the day. I blocked the sun with my body so the feathers were shaded to show details and keep the highlights from being too hot.