Squirrels have been getting way out of hand lately. Fortunately, there’s a new sheriff in town to keep Brown’s furry denizens in line. A red-tailed hawk has been hanging around Pembroke campus recently, eating squirrels and attracting crowds of interested students. But who is this hawk? Where is it from? What is it doing here? I climbed up the tree to meet the bird behind the feathers.
BlogDailyHerald: Hey there, mind if I share the branch with you?
Hawk: Sure, there’s plenty of room up here! But don’t touch my squirrel [indicates shredded squirrel carcass lying across branch].
Hawk: Seriously, if you touch my squirrel I will gouge out your eyeballs.
BlogDH: Okay okay, I understand. So, how’s your day going?
Hawk: Oh you know, typical Monday. Took care of a few things around the nest this morning, then went out hunting. I was still a little groggy from the weekend, so I wasn’t on top of my game. Luckily this sucker [prods squirrel carcass with talon] was wandering around in the middle of the green like he owned the place. Easy money.
BlogDH: I’ve never seen you on Pembroke before. Do you usually hunt somewhere else?
Hawk: I was on meal plan when I first got to campus, but I was disappointed that the Ratty didn’t serve actual rats. I started bumming around dumpsters snagging rats and mice. Recently I’ve gotten into squirrels. So yeah, I basically go wherever there’s an abundance of unsuspecting rodents.
BlogDH: What does squirrel taste like?
Hawk: Chicken, but gamier. Also hairier.
BlogDH: Where are you from?
Hawk: Like, where do I live on campus?
BlogDH: No, like where are you from originally?
Hawk: I was born in a nest on a telephone pole just outside of Boston, so I grew up in a suburban environment. There were tons of squirrels there, not to mention cats, dogs, little children, et cetera. [Sigh] That was the life.
BlogDH: Is it difficult to be a hawk in the city?
Hawk: Hmmm, good question. There are ups and downs, I’d say. The city certainly has a lot more going on than my little hometown. But a lot of city birds have trouble accepting a red-tailed hawk like me. The pigeons are especially exclusive. There are just so many stereotypes about how all hawks are vicious and bloodthirsty.
BlogDH: Well, you are ripping a squirrel apart with your beak right now.
Hawk: Do you eat meat?
BlogDH: Yes, why?
Hawk: Then how can you criticize me eating meat? The animals that you eat were also alive once, and had to be killed and dismembered just like this squirrel [turns carcass over with beak]. The difference is that your human system outsources the violence of death and butchery to slaughterhouses, allowing the rest of you to blindly consume meat without assuming responsibility for the death of another living creature.
BlogDH: Do you ever feel guilty about killing your prey?
Hawk: Yes, but I kill and eat other animals because it’s the only option I have to survive. Plus, squirrels are dumb. Fuck squirrels.
BlogDH: Have you ever considered eating students?
Hawk: Oh sure, I think about it all the time. I’m just waiting for the right moment to strike.
Images via Cadence Lee ’18.