On a walk around Baisley Pond Park’s eponymous pond in Queens recently I heard a Gray Squirrel chittering away angrily at something. Tired of White-throated Sparrows and American Robins, I decided to stroll over and see what the squirrel was so upset about. It turned out that the squirrel had a good reason to be vociferous in expressing its displeasure: a Red-tailed Hawk was trying to make the squirrel into breakfast!

Here the predator and prey take a breather from their exertions. But the hawk would not give the squirrel long to rest.

As the hawk dropped down for the squirrel the squirrel went up.

The hawk pursued the squirrel as the squirrel desperately sought to keep the trunk of the tree between them.

They played peek-a-boo for a bit before the hawk tried to move up for elevation over the squirrel.

The squirrel took advantage of that move to run back down the tree, leaving the hawk caught up in the branches.

This was the hawk’s best move: it almost managed to nab the squirrel with this attack but the squirrel was too fast.

Then the Blue Jays showed up and chased the hawk off still hungry. Judging by the banding and lack of red on the tail I would think that this hawk is only about a year old and should focus on hunting less crafty prey. Squirrels are hard too catch!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.