If someone asked you who would win in a fight between a hawk and a squirrel, you’d be dumb if you didn’t say you were siding with the large bird.
Having the high ground, the ability to fly, and talons as sharp as kitchen knives makes the competition pretty lopsided on paper. However, when you lay things out on paper, you often leave out one of the more important aspects of battle: heart.
As you’ve probably heard time and time again, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. That was definitely the case with this animal encounter, except just interchange “dog” with “squirrel” in the common phrase.
In the footage, you’ll see a squirrel munching down on some bird seed that was most likely set out for birds (considering it was, you know, bird seed). The camera was also set up to capture video of birds feeding, which oddly enough, it did that, just not in the way you thought it would play out.
The squirrel was digging into the feed like it was a Golden Corral buffet when, in the blink of an eye, a juvenile red-tailed hawk comes down and rips it away from the seed. Things were not looking good from the start for the squirrel, with the big bird capturing it in its talons and throwing it to the ground.
It looks as if the bushy tailed squirrel took a play out of the opossum’s playbook and “played dead” to try and disarm the hawk. Doing so bought it some time, and appears to have kept the the bird from digging its talons even deeper, which likely saved the squirrel’s life. As the hawk tries to fly off, the squirrel manages to wiggle out from the grasp of the big bird and flies in the opposite direction. We don’t know if the little rodent lived through the attack for sure, but there is a good chance that it did considering a squirrel with a wound appeared at the same spot just a couple of days afterwards.
Hawks typically don’t like to tangle with squirrels since squirrels are quite fast and have a rather powerful bite, but this young hawk isn’t quite as skilled in his hunting just yet. Few more years and he’ll really have the hang of it. Ideally, his initial attack would have caught the tree-dwelling rodent by the neck and it would’ve been game over. But since he missed his target and caught the back, the squirrel was able to escape.
I like to think that the squirrel miraculously survived, and the food situation is so good at this one spot, he/she was willing to risk it all again to enjoy the bird feed setup. It’ll probably just be keeping a closer eye on the sky from now on.
Check it out:
Side note: I love how birds are named in such an obvious fashion. Such as this big ole bird, who was named a red-tailed hawk because it has… red shoulders.
It reminds me of the time I was sitting with my father outside and saw a woodpecker with a red head land on a tree. I asked “what kind of bird is that,” and my father in all seriousness responded with “a red-headed woodpecker,” and he was right.
From that day on, I respected the hell out of bird names. No need to complicate things…