The Hawk and the Squirrels


If you follow Garden Walk Garden Talk, you know that I live at Niagara Falls. I walk there quite often to see what is going on, especially in winter. Today was a sight I have never seen in the tourist area of the Falls, where the very tame squirrels get hand fed by the tourists. An unusually timid visitor came to join the action.


While watching a few tourists feed squirrels, they were just amazed at how close they got to the squirrels. They were snapping cell phone cameras in the tiny faces, and I just had to snap a few images of squirrels waiting their turn for a snack. Aren’t they just adorable?


What the squirrels nor tourists realized, there was a hawk sitting right above all of us, not more than 35 feet above our heads peering down on what he was hoping would be his dinner. This really is rare for a hawk to come into a place with so much human activity. I saw him fly in out of the corner of my eye. We were at the door to the visitor’s center under the arbor steps from the door. The hawk was in a tree next to the arbor.


The tourists never saw the hawk and left, but finally a squirrel let out the warning call and all squirrels dispersed. I was hoping they remained because I was pretty sure the hawk would not grab one right in front of me. Since the noisy squirrel alerted everybody else…

I decided to move out in the open to get a closer image of the hawk. Being far too close to me to get him all in the frame, he flew right over my head. No squirrel was harmed, but he could have easily grabbed the pom-pom on my hat and made off.


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30 Responses to The Hawk and the Squirrels

  1. Boeta says:

    Beautiful. Love the squirrels too.

  2. Absolutely love the squirrels expressions you captured…Really special.

  3. Virginia says:

    What a magnificent capture of the hawk in flight, and the squirrels are also handsome this time of year with their well fed, furry ball, bodies, prepared for the long winter Our squirrels in my Quebec garden are also well fed and repay me in-between their main feedings with so much entertainment, as they figure out how to outsmart the squirrel proof bird feeders.
    I love the way you capture the beauty of nature. I was lucky enough to come across your site while I was searching for some quality photos of Red Cardinals. And I have been hooked since. I do not blog much, but I want you to know that whilst I am quietly enjoying your photography and stories I do recommend you to other interesting animal and bird lovers, that i am fortunate enough to meet. Thank you for sharing. All the best Virginia

    • donna213 says:

      They are fun to watch. Very entertaining. Thank you for finding my two blogs and suggesting them to others. I appreciate my readers and do enjoy when they comment. If you have a blog, leave the link.

  4. What a beautiful bird! A rare view of its power, majesty and beauty, all in one.

  5. Great shots…we have a red-tail hawk living in the area now who comes into our garden even with us there…love to watch them…and we have a new resident squirrel who has made himself a home…well one of many homes. And I remember that warning call when I lived at our old house with dozens of squirrels in the walnut trees…

    • donna213 says:

      Nice you have the same creatures in your garden. I rarely get a red tail here because they need a lot of flight room to maneuver, but when hungry they risk it. They are the shyest of the hawks (for photographing) unless they have prey. Then they are very bold and stand their ground.

  6. All I can say is wow! I went to Stiglmeier Park on Losson Road in Cheektowaga this past weekend before all that snow hit. The squirrels are very tame, yet all I could manage was a few okay shots. There were birds that are used to being fed and got so close to me I actually had to take a step back. A couple flew at me. Still I didn’t get any decent shots. I was hoping to get photos of deer and saw nothing. Then I lost the light so I called it a day.

    • donna213 says:

      You need to up the ISO when shooting moving critters, especially smaller birds. You need a faster shutter speed likely and your photos should turn out well. I usually see lots of deer at Tifft. Try there.

  7. Pat says:

    Those squirrels are chunky little critters. Love the shot of the hawk swooping overhead.

    • donna213 says:

      Thank you. I thought I got quite a few photos in flight, but it all happened too quickly. He just dove down towards me and I was not expecting that. A few images were just a blur.

  8. Those squirrels look very well-fed! What a drama – I couldn’t wait to read the ending! ;). Photos are super, as always.

  9. My Heartsong says:

    That is a great find, hopefully the hawk will be back as well as the squirrels. Interesting that one sounded the alarm, have seen that with small birds chattering away then everyone goes silent- sure enough, a hawk is flying overhead. I remember the grey and black squirrels from the east, there aren’t any this far west.

  10. Donna, I think you have just become the person of worship and savior for those squirrels! I can almost hear the chattering between them: “what a brave and noble lady – she saved us from sure death!”! 😉 Brilliant shots [needless to say!]

  11. A.M.B. says:

    While looking at these wonderful pictures, I almost forget how much I dislike squirrels! 😉

  12. alesiablogs says:

    OH!!!! I love all your pictures! Even squirrels!!! DON’T tell A.M.B.!

  13. Lyle Krahn says:

    I love the idea of the hawk quietly watching all of you. Great photos.

    • donna213 says:

      He was a sneaky devil just biding time for the squirrels to come out from under the wisteria arbor. Wisteria is very heavy vine and a thick tangled mess. Birds love it for protection, but it is impenetrable to hawks.

  14. aussiebirder says:

    How wonderful to get a glimpse of your beautiful wildlife, thank you! Also, please tell me what the name of the finch like bird you use for your icon.

    • donna213 says:

      Hi there and thank YOU for commenting. The bird is a native Northern Cardinal. You can see many of them on my other blog, Garden Walk Garden Talk. I have many bird photos under the tab and drop down, Bird Chirps. I even have a post on why they are red. Coincidentally, I am going to see them in Hawaii. They were imported to that island.

      • aussiebirder says:

        Love your bird photos, hope you enjoy mine on my website, they are all Aussie birds. Thanks for the Red Cardinal info, is it a male? A friend showed me a pic of it last night after their trip to Hawaii…

        • donna213 says:

          Yes, the red ones are male. The female is much different in color. I have a cockatoo (for over 30 years) from your part of the world. Noisy guy, I have wanted to send him back many times. I will have a look at more of your posts.

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