My ever-alert cousin found this local news storyÂ (WHDH-TV) out of Massachusetts. I thought it worthy to share given theÂ dust-up playing out in the Forum newspaper regarding peregrine falcons.
This one teeters on the ridiculous. At least as far as some of the “expert” quotes.
As you will see from clicking the link above (with both a video piece and text)Â apparently a couple of small dogs have been attacked by “hawks,” to the point where the animals needed stitches. They were torn up pretty good.
First, no one seems to know just what bird caused the injuries.Â “Two dogs suffered serious injuries, and Animal Control Officers say hawks are to blame.” Oh really? What kind of hawk? And just how did you determine that?
Then there’s more speculation: “Mollyâ€™s owners say a hawk scooped her up out of her dog-run while they were at work, but couldnâ€™t carry her far. Molly was dropped near a neighborâ€™s home who heard her yelping. Her hip was dislocated from the fall.” All I can think of is some TV legal drama with an attorney saying, “Your Honor, there’s no eye witness and therefore speculation.”
Finally there’s this doozy: “â€œItâ€™s pretty scary, and I worry aboutâ€¦somebody leaving an infant in the carriage and going in the houseâ€¦you just donâ€™t know. A babyâ€™s the size of a small dog,â€ said Kathy Comeau, Lunenburg Animal Control.” Wow. In one short story we go from two small dogs showing signs of injury–allegedly from a raptor–to ourÂ children’s livesÂ being in danger.
Here’s my assessment: First, it could be a hawk, maybe a Cooper’s hawk or a red-tailed hawk. Alternately, it could be a great horned owl.Â Those are probably the only candidates since the birdÂ was big enough toÂ carry the dog (again, supposedly).Â In any case, there is likely a nesting pair nearby and the birds are defending territory. As for babies being at risk I’m almost at a loss for words. It’s ludicrous.
This is just the sort ofÂ scary anecdotal rhetoricÂ which lead to the near elimination of grizzly bears, timber wolves (historically), andÂ several other critters.Â Just when you assume we have reached a certain level of enlightenment in the 21st century, something like this comes along. It reads like a news story from 1850. The only thing missing was a call to arms, an announcement for a meeting of all local gun owners, and burning torches.