An Urban Hawk



Reader Steve V. sent in these photos taken by his friend Mike H. They show a hawk perched on a minivan in the middle of a grocery store parking lot in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. It has just taken a rabbit, which can be seen in its talons. Camp Hill has a population of 3552 people per square mile, so this is not the sort of place you'd expect a hawk to feel comfortable. You can see people standing surprisingly near, and Steve tells me the area lies among active roads and stores. Mike snapped the photos with his cell phone.

Steve wonders about hawks adapting to hectic city life. I've never seen anything quite like this with hawks, but I do recall some city encounters with other birds of prey. Once while my family and I were driving in suburban St. Paul, a bald eagle took a squirrel from the road right in front of me. We were going about 50 miles per hour, and I thought I would hit the eagle. It was so close to my car that I lost sight of it as it dipped beneath my hood. However, it rose immediately, unharmed, and as we swept past I saw the gray squirrel motionless in its grip.

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