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raptor eating a squirrel (Ohio)


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These photos were taken September 5 in southwest Ohio. We were walking along when this raptor flew very low, directly over our heads, holding a dead squirrel. I thought it might be a red-tailed hawk as they are common around here, but this bird looked larger, and I thought red-tails were not strong enough to carry a squirrel.

Sorry for the horrible picture quality, but this was far away, into the light, with an iPhone (it was all we had at the time).

 

raptor1.jpg

raptor3.jpg

raptor2.jpg

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22 hours ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Red-tailed Hawk is correct. Bulky build, short tail, clean white upper breast.

OK, thank you for the help! We were hoping for something more exotic.

Why don't the red-tails near our house eat squirrels? We have seen a red-tail just sitting on a fence just ten feet from a squirrel, and both just ignored each other.

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1 hour ago, Wendall63 said:

Why don't the red-tails near our house eat squirrels? We have seen a red-tail just sitting on a fence just ten feet from a squirrel, and both just ignored each other.

Good question.  I don't really know how or where they like to hunt.  They do eat larger animals, like rabbits, that are perhaps easier and more rewarding to catch.  Your Red-tailed probably wasn't hungry, at least not hungry enough to go for a little squirrel.

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1 hour ago, Wendall63 said:

Why don't the red-tails near our house eat squirrels? We have seen a red-tail just sitting on a fence just ten feet from a squirrel, and both just ignored each other.

It’s possible that the energy it takes for the hawk to catch a squirrel outweighs the energy the squirrel provides. 

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