Wednesday, April 11, 2007

STALE MATE (edited 4/13/07)

Steve called me at home to come and witness the aftermath of a real life and death battle.  When I arrived at the scene, this is what I saw.  A red tail hawk had gone hunting and obviously underestimated the size and strength of its intended prey.  The large bull snake wasn't about to go without a fight.  Although it was badly wounded, the snake managed to wind itself around the hawk's tail and wing, pinning it to the ground.  Stale mate!

Our presence proved to be a greater threat to the animals and the snake loosened its grip on the snake and went on the defense towards me.  Eventually they untangled themselves (?), their eyes and body language indicating that they were more concerned about us than they were of their opponent which they were just in a death struggle with. 

The hawk shook out its ruffled feathers, and took a defensive stance, feathers fluffed out and wings thrown back, but when I didn't make any threatening movement, it hopped up into the air and with a flap of its powerful wings it flew off.  Although it had the hawk in an obvious death grip, the snake suffered greater injuries from the hawk's talons and beak.  It hissed at me but also seemed to realize that I meant no harm and it slithered off slowly and painfully to find a safe place to rest.

As a rule I try not to interfere with nature, but after looking both creatures in the eyes and seeing the fierce desire to live in both of them, I am glad that I showed up when I did.  It would have been a sad shame to see both of these magnificent creatures perish in a battle that neither would win.  To be honest, I half expected the hawk to come back and scoop up the injured snake, but I guess it was just happy to be alive and free at that point that its hunger was forgotten.


lazarai said...

Oh WOW, Dorn, how cool is that?!!!

Thanks for sharing the photo AND story...

:) Carol

nhd106 said...

What an interesting story...I just know there's a huge lesson in here, but I'm feeling too wiped to feel it right now!
Great shot, too.


madcobug said...

You did good on geting this picture. I can see the end of the snakes tail on the hawks back. Great picture. Helen

cutebutpsycho028 said...

No way, that is so amazing!
I always look forward to your posts!

Erika :)

midwestvintage said...

 Wonderful shot and hopefully a happy ending.  I am rather fond of snakes so hope it turns out ok.


rbrown6172 said...

wow what a shot!  and wonderful story too.  :)  i know it's a way of life and that the animals have to eat...but i'm glad you were able to intervene in this instance.

dwhee70041 said...

Dorn,  What a GREAT photo!  WOW!

justplainbill said...

Jodie, what a shot. You were lucky to get it. Amazing. Did you take any more pictures of this? I would love to see any more that you might have. Bill

radar446 said...

that is an incredible shot of the event.  I'm glad that you showed up and sort of interrupted things.  Now both will live to fight, and eat another day.


rcfairy said...

What a fantastic photograph!

mtrib2 said...

That is one of the strangest photo's of a nature scene in action I have ever seen.  The hawk's feather's look to be quite torn up so the snake must have really put up a fight.    Your photo is magnificent!     You caught something really special.     mark

tkelliher617 said...

Wow, thats amazing!  Thanks for sharing, I just love your nature photos you capture such great moments.

acoward15 said...

Awesome picture. I would have loved to have seen that.

seventhray1 said...

Wow!  How intense.  I love nature and have a great respect for it and I believe in not interefering also but I have a big heart and would of done the same.  I couldn't have stood by and done nothing either.

You know what I found really interesting was when you said "It would have been a sad shame to see both of these magnificent creatures perish is a battle that neither would win."  Funny how I see that same thing happening to people of Earth.  Hmmmm.

Wonderful set of photo's and story!