Wellesley hawks on the hunt

hawk-on-the-hunt_opt2010 oct wellesley college hawk fliesIt doesn’t take an expert birder to spot the hawks that have been circling high up in Wellesley air space or perched in trees or on telephone wires around town.  These predators hunt during the day, commonly for snakes, mice, rabbits, squirrels, and smaller birds.  But as at least one family in town has found out, Wellesley hawks have an epicurean streak and will snag a coddled, organically raised chicken when they can.  A reader tells us that one hawk “has already been responsible for three deaths that we know of.  The first, sadly, was one of our sweet chickens.”
She says they’ve put their remaining “ladies” on chicken lock down in the Fort Knox of coops and that they don’t even dare let their small dogs out on the deck unattended anymore.
Wellesley Animal Control Officer Sue Webb says that red-tailed hawks are those most typically seen in town, and that they weigh under 4 pounds.  She notes that hawks can’t lift something heavier than their own weight. But here’s the bottom line: if you’re not sure if your pet makes weight in the right way, you probably shouldn’t let it leave your side.
Webb also mentioned that a bald eagle was found in town during the winter at Lake Waban, dead from unknown causes, although she speculated that it could have been killed in a territorial fight with another eagle.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says our country’s national bird can weigh up to 14 pounds, a weight that would allow it to carry off a small house pet.
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