In the fall I collect road kill…..ah yes, road kill. I think the neighbors think I am crazy. My wife slides under the dash when I stop to pick up some poor creature that has met his demise by some speeding vehicle when crossing the road. Now the cat is out of the bag I will tell ya why. I process these creatures for their fur which is to be used for tying fishing flies. I mainly process squirrel tails so the carcass of said animal usually ends up in the field behind the house but on occasions there might be a mink, fox or some turkey parts when opportunity knocks. Now to the mystery, I have noticed on many occasions that these said carcasses disappear before they end up smelling but I never could catch what was procuring these tasty morsels.
About a week ago we had a skunk digging holes in my yard. He was one difficult bugger to catch but one evening I caught him ripping the sod in search for grubs in my yard and to that he succumbed to a lead pill. Not wanting to aggravate the situation I decided to leave him until the next morning before performing the burial service he so deserved. Next morning he is GONE! Oh boy, I know he didn’t leave on his own power but I just couldn’t figure out what would want to dine on a skunk?? Now it was 4 days later and as I was coming home from town, opportunity knocked again and this time it was a huge black squirrel so I tossed him on the running board and drove home. This time after removing his tail, I placed the carcass just behind the back garden to monitor what predator might be dining on these offerings and today I was rewarded with the picture attached………
The one on the left taking flight with the squirrel carcass in its talons is a Red Tailed Hawk and the two others are Vultures, there were also another 4-5 Vultures in the air circling.
This is just before the Hawk took flight, the carcass was in the yard about 10 feet from where the hawk is, and he jumped 3-4 times to get his prize in the tall grass just before the vultures landed.
Great tale. No pun intended. Even luckier photo. Do I see that the vultures had their prize scooped away from them by a Red Tail? I don’t think of Red Tail as eating already dead animals but, I guess your photo would suggest otherwise. When i was on a trip in Yellowstone my image of the Bald Eagle was somewhat tarnished when I saw them lining up with the coyotes and vultures to dine on the remains of an Elk after a wolf kill. So why not Red Tails?
What I don’t understand is the skunk at night. Are you suggesting these guys are nocturnal? Perhaps you were working bankers hours that day and they simply scooped it before your coffee?.