The White House Has A New Visitor, And It's Got Feathers

The White House Has A New Visitor, And It's Got Feathers

2:52pm Jun 02, 2015
A bird seemingly attacks a hawk sitting on a ledge of the White House on May 19.
A bird seemingly attacks a hawk sitting on a ledge of the White House on May 19.
Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images
A bird seemingly attacks a hawk sitting on a ledge of the White House on May 19.

A bird seemingly attacks a hawk sitting on a ledge of the White House on May 19.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

When you hear about hawks on Capitol Hill, it's usually in regard to a politician. But political agendas aside, the most hawkish character at the White House is probably an actual red-tailed hawk.

It's become something of a fixture on the White House grounds, according to the White House Blog.

Perhaps in keeping with the atmosphere in Washington, the hawk has been involved in "more than one lethal confrontation in broad daylight," The New York Times reports. The newspaper attributes the raptor's arrival to a plethora of squirrels on the White House grounds — rodents are a big part of a red-tailed hawk's diet.

The Times adds:

"It has been spotted several times stalking prey on the White House lawn, including last week when it dived and grabbed an unfortunate squirrel and tore into it at lunchtime right in Mr. Obama's driveway.

" 'A gray squirrel is a fantastic meal for them,' says Tom Auer, a conservation data specialist at the National Audubon Society. 'So as long as the food is there and there's habitat — these tall buildings with open roofs are a great place for them to hunt — and it doesn't feel threatened, it will hang out.' "

Yahoo notes that "it's not the first time the White House grounds have been infiltrated by uninvited animals." It says raccoons were spotted in the President's Park in 2009 (removed by the National Park Service at the request of the Secret Service) and a fox reportedly was seen traipsing about in 2013.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Support your
public radio station