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.