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Author Topic: REd tails and squirrels  (Read 693 times)

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Offline btulloh

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REd tails and squirrels
« on: July 19, 2019, 02:05:33 PM »
There's always some interesting nature to observe around here.  The yard to the south side of the house is a combination of moderate sized pecans, walnuts, and large cedars, plus some other trees.  It is home to around 200,00 squirrels which are usually scurrying around on the ground and in the trees all day, collecting nuts and doing squirrel stuff.  For the past week, a big red tail hawk has spent his days hanging out on lower limbs and on the ground.  You can't find a squirrel now if your life depended on it.  I haven't seen the hawk catch one, but they have all disappeared somewhere, in fear for their lives.  Usually the hawks are patrolling at altitude, but this is something new.

Too bad the deer that eat all the flowers are not bothered by any of this.



 
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2019, 05:29:37 PM »
   We have red-tail hawks nesting in our area and they are frequently seen cruising the pasture and last winter they parked at a bench with several walnut trees where the squirrels were common. Sometimes they are carrying a snake or young possum or such. I had one catch a chipmunk right in front of me several years back while bow hunting in October in a climbing tree stand. She dropped it when she looked up and spotted me. Then 2 years ago one swooped in and grabbed a big fox squirrel by the base of the tail. It was about 10 yards in front of me stealing the corn out of my deer feeder. They made several loops around the tree and the squirrel seemed to be free and headed for a hollow tree somewhere when suddenly he realized that constriction at the base of his tail wasn't his anus but claws around the member. He was good and fairly caught till the bird looked up and saw me looking out the window of my shooting house and abandoned him. He sat there a couple minutes, ran to the end of a 4' root or log, caught his breath again and reversed course and ran till I lost sight of him in the distance. I hung a corn stealing dove who lost an argument with my slingshot and a marble on the fence then later on a nearby stump near the bench where the hawks were hanging out but they never came and got him. Maybe they only eat furballs and not our feathered fiends.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2019, 09:04:37 PM »
Nice looking yard!  ;)
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2019, 04:43:52 PM »
Several years ago right in front of my house about 85 feet up in a big white oak was a red tail nest .The squirrels just scattered when ever the adult hawks would land or get on the underside of a big branch .I never saw a hawk get a squirrel .
Much later in the fall the three juveniles  operated as a team .Two in trees one swooping,again nary a squirrel .Lots of young rabbits though .
We've got red tails,great horned owls and every so often a bald eagle .I didn't see it but my wife RIP saw an eagle get a squirrel on the ground .Just swooped in on a glide and snatched it with one foot  and that was that .

Offline lxskllr

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2019, 05:19:44 PM »
I miss all the tree rats I had here. They're still around, and I see them every day, but not like I did before the oak tree came down. That was their main home.

Years ago, I had a dead hawk laying on the hill. I puzzled over that for years. Wondered how a hawk just comes to die, and ends up on my hill... One day, it came to me. I had a steel cable zipline setup for my daughter, and that dead hawk was just about in the right place if it were going after a squirrel, and clotheslined itself on the cable. I felt pretty bad after coming to that conclusion  :^(

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2019, 07:00:29 PM »
   When I was at AU studying Wildlife Biology (Back in the stone age) our department head, Dr. Keith Causey, had done his thesis on Feral dogs in Ala and one of his findings as I remember was the feral dogs supplemented their diet on birds killed by running into guy wires to a radio tower in part of his research area. Apparently a significant number got killed that way. 
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline sprucebunny

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2019, 08:03:21 PM »
I used to see at least one hawk a day but now there are no squirrels and I haven't seen a hawk all summer  :(
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2019, 07:11:34 AM »
I used to see at least one hawk a day but now there are no squirrels and I haven't seen a hawk all summer  :(


Put out some sunflower seeds, they will all come back.  ;)
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2019, 07:50:56 AM »
As a general rule if you have birds of prey you have to have prey animals ,rodents .If you have both it's a fairly well balanced eco system .
The eagles for example are not so prevalent this time of year because they seem more prone to hang around bodies of water ,fish eaters .Dead of winter you see them more often .
American kestrels AKA sparrow hawk seem more active in mid winter although they obviously have to be around the rest of the time .They are so fast you seldom see them .A little puff of feathers and it's gone like the wind .
I see the red tails riding the updrafts about like vultures 200-300  feet in the air in late afternoon just about every day .It's been claimed they can detect a field mouse from over 1000 feet in the air .
Crows like to gang up and pester red tails and owls .A crow can' t fly at night and the owls pick them off .With the hawks,when the hawk breaks loose the crows scatter ,one if them is not going to make it .They can't outrun a hawk in a dive ,black  feathers fall like snowflakes .  

Offline Corley5

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Re: REd tails and squirrels
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2019, 08:42:58 AM »
We've had a red tailed hawk return in the spring and fall on it's way to warmer climates.  It hangs out a week or two depending on the weather and mouses out of a wolfy maple in the center of the farm.  This year it came back and I saw it perched on the end of the sugar house where a red squirrel had been gaining entrance.  It was on my short list to do away with the squirrel and plug the hole he was using.  I saw the hawk there twice and it was a couple weeks before I noticed that there were no more squirrels.  This was back in May and we still haven't seen a squirrel.  I plugged the hole in the sugar house and tunnels they'd dug to get into the basement of the farmhouse knowing I wasn't sealing a squirrel in.  I can't believe the bird got all of them but they're gone 8) 8)
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