I watch them go about their activities as though the hawks aren't even there. Other times my eyes scan a tree limb several times before I even notice the squirrel clinging to the branch. They can be so still that I think they may be sleeping. Nothing moves, not even the eyes blink.
On my last visit with the hawks, I spotted a squirrel frozen in place on a limb just under the nest. The female hawk had just landed on a pine limb nearby. I could hardly believe he had gotten himself in that predicament. He was safe for the moment. The female had finished her meal and her mind was on other matters. The male was incubating and couldn't see him. A few seconds later he slinked down the trunk, definitely minimizing attention.
People often complain about squirrels that raid their birdfeeders, ruin fruit by taking one bite or dig in flowerbeds. But I have always enjoyed them and now I have an even deeper appreciation.
Female squirrels may raise two nests a season, numbering as many as eight young, combined. The first brood of squirrel youngsters are moving about while the hawks are feeding their young. The second brood of squirrels are leaving the nest just as the hawk fledglings are learning to hunt. How perfect is that?
And I don't mean that unkindly, favoring one species over another. I mean that nature has provided for the predator as well as the prey.
While I wait for hawk activity, I enjoy the squirrels. They move about with a perfect combination of alertness and oblivion, an awareness level that allows them to live and thrive right along side skillful predators.
If you love hawks, you've gotta' love the squirrels, too.
Ink and watercolor sketches in 5x7 Holbein Multi-Drawing sketchbook.