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Real-life drama unfolds between hawk and owl in West Kelowna

Hawk vs owl showdown

Rob Gibson

A West Kelowna man got a taste of the wild kingdom right in his back yard recently.

Mike Newitt had a front-row seat for a real-life, hawk versus owl life and death struggle last week.

Newitt was working in his garage when he heard a loud ruckus that turned out to be a hawk.

"It was going nuts. When I went to look, the owl was latched onto it about 10 feet up the tree," says Newitt.

As he began walking towards the scene, he pulled out his phone and began recording. By that time, the hawk had fallen to the ground and the owl remained sitting in the tree.

Newitt says the hawk wound up flying away, but the owl stayed in the same spot for the next couple of hours. 

Newitt went back to work for the next hour or so before checking back on the bird drama.

"It looked like the owl was stalking the hawk. When it came back, it appeared to be still nursing its wounds before the owl flew down and got on top of the hawk and appeared to kill it and then fly off."

Newitt says he was captivated by the drama as it unfolded and didn't expect to see anything like it in broad daylight. "You'd almost think the roles would be reversed," he said.

According to Dale Belvedere at the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls, the birds in the video are likely a barred owl and a red-tailed hawk.

"It would be very uncommon for an owl to attack a hawk. Owls do take over the nest of other raptors, as owls can’t build their own," says Belvedere, so this may be an explanation for the showdown.

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