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Hawk vs Squirrel at the dentist

November 11, 2011

I sat in the dental chair, waiting for Novocaine to take effect, watching a squirrel outside the window filching seeds from the bird feeder. A hawk stepped out from under a nearby bush. Already that seemed odd to me; I always pictured hawks as swooping down, a fluttering of wings and then sharp-taloned death. Dentistry came to a halt as patients and technicians rushed to the windows to see the drama unfold. But what happened next completely surprised me.

The squirrel noticed the hawk and quickly ran around behind him. As I remembered my camera, the hawk lost track of the squirrel. Hawk looked this way and that while the squirrel ran back and forth under the ledge, along the fence, and through the bushes.  The squirrel came out of the bush and confronted the hawk; which puffed its feathers and backed away.  Three times the squirrel actually charged the hawk.

Squirrel charged the hawk

It isn't what you're thinking...

This particular hawk had entertained my dentist’s customers from time to time by devouring a rabbit in full view of the windows. You look at this picture and you think; “Oh – squirrel is gonna die”. And without the context that’s what it looks like, but notice the feathers – this hawk isn’t braking after swooping in from above; he’s jumping in the air to avoid his attacker which just ran directly at him.  It was too much for the fearsome predator; it flew away and the squirrel went back to thieving seeds from the bird feeder.

Rodents are pretty smart, and I’ve heard that birds of prey aren’t too bright.  Maybe this squirrel writes inspirational posters for other squirrels.

Oh, one other thing: after 10 months I have a new ceramic tooth on a titanium anchor in an artificial bone graft. So happy to be rid of that plastic thing in my mouth.


  • The camera was my little Pentax W60, distinguished by toughness and little else.  Oh how I wished for my Canon G11.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 12, 2011 at 09:10 | #1

    What a fantastic action picture George! You can hang that one up as a prize in my book!

  2. Sue B.
    November 14, 2011 at 09:59 | #2

    I was glad for the happy ending! :) I remember observing the capture of an innocent robin, and that left a very sad feeling!

  3. Susan
    November 20, 2011 at 14:29 | #3

    Doesn’t surprise me at all: I’ve always thought of squirrels as the juvenile delinquents of the animal world. Sharp little claws, fearsome teeth [go through a plastic tub like steel chisels, can destroy a wooden bird feeder in a matter of minutes]. Haven’t you ever seen them, sitting by the roadside, flipping that little tail like a battle pennant, before they run madly in front of oncoming cars? They live on the edge, love danger, and any hawk with any sense at all, would back off.

  4. November 20, 2011 at 14:55 | #4

    Great story. Great photos, even if only the Pentax W60 (I have a Pentax Optio V20 — I wonder how they compare?)

    Best part, Susan’s comment.

  5. Artor
    November 21, 2011 at 09:35 | #5

    Hawks are badass, but they do their best work when swooping down like death from the sky, and killing their prey before it knows it’s dead. Put them on the ground with something fast and aware, and it’s out of its element. I always get a kick out of watching eagles getting pestered & run off by a flock of little tasty starlings or crows. The raptor is way faster in the power dive, but the littler birds can fly circles around it in open air.

  6. dof
    November 21, 2011 at 11:01 | #6

    Thanks for the extra stories everyone! Keep ‘em coming!

    Ed – the W60 has less zoom range than the V20, but about the same size imaging chip. Main difference is the W60 is designed for severe use. Image quality is not impressive but it can pretty much go anywhere you can without special equipment. It can also do macro shots from 1cm distance.

    There’s a whole new class of small cameras with big (meaning physically large, not lots of megapixels) imaging chips. They have spectacular image quality. Soon as one of them comes out ruggedized, my W60 will be retired.

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