Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Death At Dawn

I was a little later than usual heading out to look for deer on Sunday morning. Shortly after dawn I was driving down a narrow, winding back road when I say a hawk come fluttering to the ground through the forest canopy, and grab an unfortunate rabbit.

I stopped immediately. Ordinarily these bird fly from the near presence of a vehicle, but this one was determined to not leave his prey. I took some shots through the windshield of the vehicle, but they were not sharp.

Could I possibly get out of the vehicle and have clear shooting? Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes, so I made sure the camera was set properly and slowly edged the door open and then slid into the v between the door and the Blazer body and began shooting.

I would have liked to have been closer, but there was no way to do so. I cropped the photographs severely to get a reasonably close looking image.

Unbelievably I was also able to get the video tripod from the rear of the vehicle, attach the XL-H1 and get it in action. For a time I let it run while I fired stills with the DSLR.

Canon 30-D: 300mm F4 -1/125 sec, f5.6 ISO 1600

Canon 30-D: 300mm F4 -1/200 sec, f 5.o ISO 1600

The hawk fed on the rabbit until it had consumed enough of it that it was able to fly with the remainder and then went airborne, carrying it away.

One of the most memorable outdoor experiences I have witnessed was over.

These photographs support my answer to a question in a previous post as to why I thought there is a low rabbit population in our area.


HFD60 said...

Great capture Willard. Talk about right place at the right time.

Carletta said...

I have a photo saved of a hawk eating the last bites of something - it was the only time one didn't fly from me. :)
This is a great capture - nature at its truest.

I linked to you in my blog today. I didn't follow the 'rules' I just wanted to send people here because I consider your blog worthy of the "brilliant" title. :)

Bradley Myers said...

What a great time Willard, I would like to say you lucked into a good one but from your post I can tell you make things happen and work for it. Another moment I would of enjoyed seeing.

We used to have tons of rabbits and they ate everything we planted. In the last few years the hawk population has soared (no pun intended) in the fields around our home and now are plants are growing, minus the rabbits.

Kerri said...

Wow! Truly amazing to watch nature takes its course. Fabulous shots!

Anonymous said...

Nice photographs, Willard. I like to see Nature working and not influenced by people and this is a classic example of it.

The largest four-legged creatures the hawks around here in my backyard eat are chipmunks. I know they could kill the squirrels but think they know they might lose a toe in the process as those teeth on squirrels can go through walnuts.

So far the rabbits come here to have their babies and as soon as they are big enough to leave the nest and eat some clover or flowers, the mothers take off leaving the babies here. Then when they get bigger, they take off too so I never had a rabbit population for the hawks to feed on.

They sure do a job on mourning doves.

Abraham Lincoln
—Brookville Daily Photo

fishing guy said...

Willard: Talk about seize the moment, you did so much more. A co-operative hawk is hard to find.

kjpweb said...

Excellent capture! And sometimes we just have to stay back in order not to loose a shot. And besides - we all don't like to be disturbed during dinner time! ;)
Cheers, Klaus

The Birdlady said...

He was certainly single-minded about his business, wasn't he? Amazing shots!

Faye Pekas said...

Wow what an experience! Your heart must have been going miles an hour :)I got to watch something like this once but the hawk was in tall grass so I didn't get any clear shots.

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi Willard! What an incredible opportunity you had and you capitalized upon it with some great photos.

I'm really busy, as you may have heard or picked up. But, I'm also having a "Name the Newt" contest on my web site for a chance to win my September Print of the Month. You can read about it here.

I'd appreciate you trying to get the word out as the contest is from August 1-15 only and I'd like to see a blogger win, but I'm not a judge for the name either.

Thanks, Jim

i beati said...

wow each week is more exciting sak

Louise said...

Incredible. That would be difficult for me to watch because I like things furry, but being the course of nature would soften it a little. I'm sure not many people have ever seen anything like that.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Fantastic... seen it happen once or twice with a sparrowhawk.. and the best had to be the Pereguine Falcon that a saw dive on a group of pigeons.. one buig explosion of feathers and away it flew.

Tommy said...

wonderful catch. Hawks are fun to watch.