It was a regional qualifier for a national championship contested at one of the fine, old, private courses in Minnesota. The clear blue September shy was interrupted only by an occasional fluffy white cumulus cloud and the circling of a Red Tailed Hawk. Wildlife watching was not at the top of the list for the fine golfers in my foursome who were grinding their way along the fairways lined with huge mature trees. As we attempted to make pars – pars are always harder in a qualifier where only one or two golfers advance – our concentration was occasionally interrupted by the numerous squirrels that scurried madly about gathering nature’s bounty for the long winter months ahead.
We had hit our tee shots to the gorgeous, all carry over the water, par 3 and were walking around the lake contemplating how we would negotiate the slippery, tricky green, when a member of the group stopped and pointed to a dead branch that extended from a near by tree top. Preached proudly on the limb was a Red Tailed Hawk with a grey squirrel pinned to the limb with its powerful talons. Our group stood hypnotized by this unexpected staging of Mother Nature’s cruel reality as the hawk ripped chunks of fur and flesh from its victim. When we started moving again not a word was spoken as we attempted to get back into the moment. But, after the round over a cool adult beverage we spoke of the beauty of nature and the fact that she is full of surprises. None of us could believe that a Red Tail Hawk could catch and consume a squirrel.