Yesterday evening, I heard a hawk screaming in our front yard. When I went out to see what was going on, I saw it “mantling” over something it had caught.
When I looked closer, I realized it was a baby cottontail rabbit. We have been overrun by cottontails this year. I’ve heard that it is because the most common predator to keep them in check, coyotes, have been hit hard with canine mange.
On the other hand, an early fall cold snap in New Mexico last year decimated the migrating songbird population there and in surrounding states.(https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/southwest-bird-die-caused-long-term-starvation-180976643/) We’ve had far fewer songbirds around this summer as a result.
The combination of fewer songbirds and more cottontails probably prompted this sharpie to try its hand — er — talon — at a baby bunny.
But this baby cottontail rabbit was only a little smaller than the hawk. When a family came walking down the sidewalk, they startled the hawk off its “kill”. To everyone’s astonishment, the baby bunny bounced up and scampered back under our blue spruce tree, although it did have a nasty gash on the side of its head.
The only one disappointed was the hawk.