Red-shouldered Hawk with Snake!

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator


A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk grasps a Garter Snake by the head as it launches into flight. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.


Being in the right place at the right time is often the “secret” behind an interesting photograph.  Last Monday a classic right time-right place moment happened to me at Ashland Nature Center.

A Red-shouldered Hawk (a juvenile that is being seen hanging out near the nature center and lodge) flew across the lodge driveway as I drove by, clutching a snake in its beak.

As I grabbed the camera, the hawk flew back towards me.  I snapped a photo out the window right as the hawk launched off the branch.  The foot-long Garter Snake  was devoured in two gulps when the hawk landed again.   Just another snake snack for this hungry hawk that other observers have seen capturing the same prey item in the same location.  Catching this behavior on camera is the hard part!

The juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk perches after devouring the Garter Snake. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.

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