The other day I was walking through the park, as I often do any morning when I am not at work, seeking a cup of coffee at a nearby store. Out of nowhere a hawk flew right past me, about five feet away and close to the ground. As it climbed skyward I could clearly see a large rat hanging tightly in its grasp.
I'm sure it's only on very rare occasions that a rat will attack and devour a human in broad daylight, but this rat was probably taking advantage of my obvious hazy state; clearly it could tell I hadn't yet had any caffine and was in no state to defend myself. Possibly it had been staking out my morning walks for weeks.
Grateful to the hawk that saved my life, I snapped a couple pics. It was soon joined by its mate, evidently just a camera whore, as it didn't even seem to notice the free meal but stared and squawked at me a few times. I followed the male with the rat as it took off, and after a couple more quick stops it landed on the edge of a large nest. When the female showed up a minute later, the male left the rat in the nest and moved to a different branch on a nearby tree. The female then busied itself with the rat and whatever else it had in the nest. Eggs? Chicks?
I'd love to find out. I've been checking on them for the last couple of days. Both hawks are easy to spot in the park, even when they're not anywhere near the nest.
On an unrelated subject, the hundreds of squirrels that used to roam the park seem to be missing. Over the past few days, I've only seen two of them. Weird.