Not even other flying creatures are safe from the predatory instincts of a Red-tailed hawk.
But I guess when you think of the saying “birds of a feather flock together,” it doesn’t say anything about bats. That’s probably because though bats can fly, they are considered mammals, and from the looks of this video, they are also considered dinner in the eyes of a hawk.
There aren’t many living beings in the animal kingdom that can rival the eyesight and hunting abilities of a Red-tailed hawk. I’ve already mentioned an animal-based saying in this story, and I’m about to bring to light another, so please forgive me.
“Eyes like a hawk” wasn’t just made up out of nowhere. Whenever all of the common sayings were being created (and I’m not sure when that was), one was needed to explain something or someone with exceptional eyesight, and the hawk was the perfect example.
Hawks utilize their eyesight, which is eight times better than a human’s, to track down prey that’s below them. Now when I use the word “below,” that usually means what they’re going after is on the ground, but that’s not the case with this video.
Below simply means lower in the sky for these Red-tailed hawks, who have found that a bat cave can serve as a plentiful source of food, as long as their able to snatch the mammals out of the sky.
As you’ll see, some of the hawks are extremely skilled at timing up dives down into the flying colony of bats, and with a quick snap of their talons, they can grab and kill the winged mammals in one fell swoop.
The video was featured on BBC Earth, and narration over portions of the clip gave insight into how the hawks are able to do rather well hunting bats right out the sky:
“These experienced hunters have learned the best technique: Dive-bombing the bats at over 160 kilometers (100 miles) an hour. The best can catch a bat with one talon while still holding another.
The best of the best stay (at the caves) for the entire summer, but most migrating hawks simply use the caves as a drive-thru restaurant.”
The narrator totally missed the opportunity of calling the colony of bats an “all-you-can-eat buffet.” I mean, if you are going to bring fast food into the conversation, you’ve got to bring up the buffet, right?
It doesn’t really matter what you call it though, as long as you recognize that these hawks look badass grabbing bats: