Hawk eating pigeon for lunch

Hawk eating pigeon for lunch - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hawk eating pigeon for lunch – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Living in Manhattan, Central Park is my wilderness. I often see squirrels, ducks, geese, raccoons and turtles, but this weekend I was treated to something extra special. This stunning hawk who at first I thought was injured or had been in a fight (due to the bunch of feathers all over the ground around him), had in fact caught a pigeon for lunch and was in the process of shredding it. This red-tailed hawk, along with a few others often hunt in central park, but this is the first time I got to see this magnificent bird at  close range. Female red-tailed hawks grow larger than their male companions, and both are known to be monogamous in their relationship. Eggs and chicks are primarily looked after by the female hawk while her male partner provides them with food. It sounds like she has him well trained.

27 thoughts on “Hawk eating pigeon for lunch

  1. Great spot, Laura! It is always great to see successful urban wildlife. It doesn’t get more wild in Manhattan than a hawk kill! Well… not involving wildlife anyway… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! I’ve worked here for coming up on 3 years. I have to get out to find green places and wildlife. Even if it is just for a weekend drive.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome experience and photos Laura. My Hubby and I had a similar experience in Scotland whilst on holidays. We were driving down the road and just in front of us an Osprey swooped down to pick up a rabbit. It was an unforgettable moment .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Linny,
      There’s just something so special about these large and powerful birds.
      What a cool experience for you in Scotland! I’ve heard it’s a very beautiful country.


  3. Considering how little time a hawk actually spends on the ground with a kill (after who knows how many unsuccessful attempts), you were definitely in the right spot at the right time! A little wildness in the heart of a city is a very good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I actually expected the hawk to take his dead pigeon somewhere more private to eat, but he seemed quite happy enjoying lunch infront of an audience. I have friends who have also said the same, they were trying to have a relaxing picnic but lost their apetite because a hawk nearby was ripping into a rat.
      I love that even when I’m stuck in the city on a weekend I can get my fair share of nature too. It’s good for the soul.


    1. Thanks Varla,
      Shame you didn’t get to see Central Park, it can be very beautiful especially in Spring or Fall, hopefully you get to come back again. It’s so hard to see all of New York in one trip, there’s so much to see and do!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We could do with a few more hawks around here with all the pigeons that eat my vegetables. My daughter maybe scared the last one off as it decapitated a pigeon mid air by our back door, in front of her. The hawk flew past me empty beaked as my daughter’s screams continued and I was left to clear up the mess, including an arc of pigeon blood on the wall. Unfortunately we didnt get a photo of the incident.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great picture, Laura. Yesterday I saw a Coopers hawk about 10 feet away, just outside my studio window. He had a bird, probably a sparrow, he had just taken out of a bush a few feet away. I was able to take a couple pictures and a video of him pecking away, feathers flying in the wind. Last week a hawk, possibly the same one, landed on the hedge just outside my kitchen window as I stood at the sink. He apparently knows the birds like to hide there. He looked straight at me, I looked at him, then he flew off. Did not even have time to reach for my phone camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Irene,
      Great story, thanks for sharing! How lucky you are to see these impressive birds coming to your house. Not so great for the little birds that are getting eaten though.


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