Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Carrion Per Passenger

One thing I've learned in my past few years of observations on Moose Hill is that when I see an animal doing something unexpected, there's usually a reason for it.

Nancy and I were enjoying a mid-morning jog up Moose Hill Parkway today when we saw a big red-tail hawk fly up from the roadside. It flew a ways up into the oaks and pines and perched, no doubt watching us. I think of red-tails soaring above fields or sitting in trees along the highway, not sitting on the ground along a narrow road passing through heavy forest.

As we passed the spot the hawk took off from I looked over the high snow bank looking for evidence of a kill. I soon discovered a mangled deer carcass with a large spot of exposed flesh. I assume the deer was killed by a car, but it's possible that it fell prey to coyotes.

I never thought of red-tails as carrion feeders. Maybe the difficult winter we're having has pushed the bird out of it's normal patterns. Yet again, Moose Hill is a source of new insights into our natural world.