There was some excitement this morning at the East Lansing Wild Birds Unlimited store. A Cooper’s Hawk was… well I’m not sure what he was doing. Ya see there’s this squirrel that was… well I’m not quite sure what she was doing either. But they were both definitely doing something or maybe not.
There’s a first year squirrel that’s been hanging around the store, dodging in and out of parking lot traffic. I watch her occasionally stick hickory nuts under peoples’ tires. I’m not sure if she’s hiding them or letting the tires crack them open, but she’s very entertaining. Gray squirrels can come in several different colors. This one has black legs, a red back, and patches of white on her belly and tail tip. I’ve grown used to her morning peek-a-boo through the door with the cats every day.
So when I saw a Hawk swoop down on her as she was digging around in the front garden I wanted to scream “LOOK OUT!” But hawks are fascinating to watch too, especially up close, so I watched. The hawk was bouncing around in my aster plants, which are especially thick this year, while the squirrel was digging around for lost sunflower heads, oblivious to any danger!
Then the squirrel walked into the open parking lot. NO! I’ve seen a hawk drop down on our back porch to take away a squirrel before in one swoop. I thought our patchwork colored squirrel was a goner, but the Cooper’s Hawk just did a couple taps on the squirrel’s back. I grabbed the camera and took a picture through the window. It's not a great picture. I was a little shaken up even if the squirrel wasn't. Squirrel and bird looked at each other and then I think the squirrel decided she just didn’t have time for “this” and continued her hunt for masses of food to hoard.
The hawk made a couple more taps on the squirrel’s back and then flew off into a nearby tree to sit. It’s been a few hours since the incident. The hawk is gone now but the squirrel is back shoving nuts under tires.