Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Life and Death in the Animal Kingdom. Food Chain. Nature's Way. Do Not Disturb.
As the seasons change, so do shooting conditions. I am talking about photography, not hunting. But, in all seasons, there are good photo opportunities. That's why I always carry one of my cameras wherever I go.
Walking in the woods yesterday, I chanced upon a hawk on the ground. Except for its swiveling head, this hawk stood there like a garden statue, unmoved by an approaching human. Birds are the most skittish animals around, but this one stood its ground. Soon, it became apparent to me that its claws held a squirrel, pinned to the ground, beneath a few inches of snow. Animals experience extreme hunger when Winter turns the land into a tundra. The hawk was not about to abandon its newly caught meal, in the snow-covered landscape of January, just because a human was in its proximity.
I kept my distance and took some photos. The hawk spread its wings, stooped, and delivered the coup de grace on it hapless prey. It hopped around a bit, and then flew off to the top branches of a tree, squirrel and all.
This life and death drama was not to be interfered with, no matter how much we love animals. All animals need nourishment, and a food chain exists in their world. For us humans, as long as we stay in civilized areas, we are on top of that chain. And how wonderfully reassuring to know that we will not become a meal to another human or animal when we step out of our home. But, wild animals do not have that luxury. I might have thrown a rock at the hawk, and perhaps the squirrel could have made a run for it in the confusion. But, that would be interfering with nature's way.