Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cornfield Technique

A mature Red-tail on a power pole by the roadside, hunting. She's a reasonably common sight in rural Wisconsin. What wasn't so common to me, being used to urban hawks, was her hunting technique in regards to a cornfield
Focused, tensed, then when taking to the air, she followed the visual line of the rows with precision. During each trip between poles, she made a number of long swoops just above the corn before curving to the next pole to perch.

She sits on the pole, focused. Then off she goes again to repeat the same process.

She's now strafed the whole cornfield from end to end, once again following the visual line of the rows, swooping down low to brush the tops of the dried tassels, then swooping up again to land on the next pole.

It made me wonder if perhaps she was driving prey into the farmyard where the cover was shorter and prey more easily nabbed. Or perhaps prey having been herded in that direction, the young or foolish, forgetting about the waiting hawk, might just meander out for a look-see in the green of the yard-and whoosh.

Watching her over a number of days on my trips up and down this road. I always saw her work the field in the same direction-towards the farmyard.

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