I was working in the backyard yesterday about suppertime when I heard a screech of some sort. It did not register at first but then I figured out it was some sort of an animal in distress. The sound came from behind the mini-barn where there is a large blackberry garden. I decided to investigate and see just what it was that was making all that noise.
I walked slow as can be back towards one side of the mini-barn with an eye towards a quick escape in the case that whatever had made this yet unkown animal upset would have a similar affect on me. I got about ten feet or so from the back of the barn when I saw what had occured. Right there in front of God and everybody was the largest hawk I had ever seen. He was in amongst the blackberries with his wings spread out all the way (I figured his wing span to be somewhere between two and three feet, possibly more). He was shuffling around and carrying on quite a bit. When he pulled his wings in, I saw what he had done to raise such a ruckus. Gripped in the hawk’s talons, and struggling like all get out, was a good sized rabbit. The poor thing was fighting for all he was worth and that big ole hawk wasn’t about to let his dinner get away from him. I sat down on a brick ledge about ten feet away and watched this fight for life.
By and by the rabbit gave up the ghost. That hawk drug him a little bit away from the blackberry bush for reasons he did not state. Once he got his dinner situated the way he wanted it, he commenced to eat. I got my camera and moved, quiet as a church mouse, as close as I thought I could get away with. (There is a photo here of said hawk and his dinner). It took him near on to an hour to finish eating and I sat, not but a few feet away, and watched him eat. This was the second time that I have had the opportunity to watch a wild animal kill and eat (the other time was a timber rattlesnake who dined on a squirrel).
Now, the thing about snakes is they eat everything. There is never a thing left behind. Hawks are different. I guess he took his fill of the rabbit and left the rest.
Guess who gets to clean up his mess? (A postscript: it is Sunday morning and the wife just came in to tell me that Mr. Hawk had returned and was having the rest of the rabbit for breakfast. When I went out, he had jumped up onto the fence. What a gorgeous animal). He left after a few minutes. Maybe he will come back and clean his own mess up.)