Frog Legs for Lunch

Perhaps the slightly wetter weather made the frogs more active. Or perhaps the Red-Shouldered Hawks had tired of their earthworm menu. Whatever the reason, I managed to catch a few somewhat fuzzy shots (sorry about the quality) of one of the hawks eating lunch in a large black oak in my backyard. Here it is meditating on its meal:

Red-Shouldered Hawk pausing between bites

And here is the moment I figured out what it was eating:

Red-Shouldered Hawk with a mouthful of frog

Yup, that’s a frog leg dangling out of the left side of its beak. From the size of the leg, I’m guessing dinner was a Southern Leopard Frog. Many dwell along the creek and in the adjacent wetlands, and their voices joined the Spring Peeper chorus more than a week ago.

A few moments after I took the second shot, the hawk flew up to the nest and shared the rest of the frog with its mate. I believe humans consider the back frog legs to be the tasty part of the amphibian. Perhaps the frog hunter saved the best bits for its mate confined to the nest.

Such dances between Life and Death are common on my five-acre patch of piedmont. In this case, I figure tadpoles will always outnumber hawk nestlings, and so I am content.

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