Hawk spotted in northwest Oak Park

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By Evan O'Brien

Content Manager

Mischa DeHart was about to take her dogs for a walk Wednesday morning, until her husband, Jacob, shouted "Don't take the dogs out, there's a hawk outside!"

Jacob was leaving for work that morning when he spotted the hawk perched on the fence in the backyard of his house on the 900 block of North Marion Street. Mischa left the dogs inside and came out for a closer look.

"The hawk just stood there. It didn't seem to be afraid of us," Mischa said, "It only flew away after I asked my husband to make some loud noises to scare it off."

The DeHarts have two dogs, one 35 pounds and the other 5 pounds. Mischa said she'd never seen a hawk in her neighborhood before and was concerned for small dogs and cats in the area.

Based on Jacob's photos, the staff at Trailside Museum in River Forest believe the bird in question was a young red-tailed hawk. The staff also said the hawk is typically not a threat to pets.

Click here to learn more about the red-tailed hawk.

Reader Comments

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Bob from Elmwood Park  

Posted: October 13th, 2010 10:37 AM

There's a family of hawks that live on the roof of my building, Cameo Towers, in Elmwood Park on North Ave at Harlem. It's 20 stories tall, and from my 15h floor condo I occasionally see them soaring over northern Oak Park & River Forest. If anybody spots them again, please tell them they are behind in their association dues.


Posted: October 10th, 2010 12:47 AM

The rabbits in my yard want to invite this hawk and his family over for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everyday.

Jon from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2010 9:15 AM

Don, the hawk you took pictures of is different than this hawk that's on the paper's website. The hawk taking a bath looks like a Coopers Hawk or a Sharp Shinned Hawk -- can't exactly tell, size differentiates them. Coopers' are bigger. Great hawk to see in such an urban environment.

Don Anderson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 6:47 PM

Here are links to (bad) pictures I took when the hawk visited the 900 Block of North Taylor in Spring.http://www.flickr.com/photos/85236314@N00/4282395063/http://www.flickr.com/photos/85236314@N00/4283137766/http://www.flickr.com/photos/85236314@N00/4283136732/

Edye from River Forest  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 6:23 PM

My son spotted a hawk devouring a bird in our backyard a week or so ago. We live in River Forest near North Ave. I tried to get close enough to take a picture, but it flew away. A cool sight to see. We've had foxes make themselves at home in our backyard. One planted his backside on my chair. I know the pillows were comfy, but geez! Have see owls too. And what about those skunks?! There's an invasion of those stinky critters. Yes, we are merging more closely with nature.

Karen from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 5:42 PM

We, too, have seen hawks just like this for about 3 years in Southwest Oak Park.


Posted: October 7th, 2010 5:35 PM

Hawks and the like in Oak Park and around the rest of the suburbs are not as unusual as some think. While they are predators, their prey is normally small rodents and songbirds -- not your dog. If I saw a hawk in my backyard -- as I have before -- I wouldn't freak out. I'd admire it, shoot some photos like this man did, and then when your dog has to pee, shoo it away and go outside with your pooch.

Ralphie from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 7:40 AM

I have my own personal "hawk" which takes care of my squirrels, cats and small dogs. It's a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.

Helen Kossler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 5:43 AM

I don't mean to brag, but the 600-700 block of Home Ave has hosted hawks and chicks for the past two years.

Mischa DeHart from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 1:34 AM

I meant **David** not Dan!!

Mischa DeHart from Oak Park  

Posted: October 7th, 2010 1:30 AM

Hi there,I submitted these photos. My intention with this article was to warn my neighbors of this predator and I'm shocked there are such feline hating trolls in my neighborhood. I'm really disappointed in people like "Cronie" and Dan. (Using an alias is such a coward move.) Though I don't think that Oak Park is an ideal location for free roaming cats because of traffic, I won't tolerate criticism of lost or deceased pets. I'm shocked by the immaturity.

Diaa from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 8:09 PM

I guess now we know what will become of all those bunnies the city released to us a year or more ago.:(


Posted: October 6th, 2010 6:46 PM

sorry about dupe; this site was acting nutty


Posted: October 6th, 2010 6:35 PM

But Dan, cats kill songbirds and help decimate their population. And I tire of people who mourn their "free" cats who get hit by cars or eaten by predators. I've yet to see the cat that cannot adjust to living indoors all the time.


Posted: October 6th, 2010 6:32 PM

But Dan, outdoor cats kill songbirds; they decimate the population. Plus I tire of people mourning their "free" cats who get killed by cars or predators. I have not seen a domestic cat that cannot adjust to living indoors all the time.

Pam Penney from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 5:38 PM

We had a red-tailed hawk in our backyard a couple of summers ago on North Taylor. I observed it swoop down and attack a rabbit. In just a short time it had taken apart and eaten it's prey. The wild outdoors comes to Oak Park!

bruce from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 4:56 PM

Great photos!

ML Eneberg from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 4:14 PM

I, too, saw this, or a similar hawk, fly over the hood of my car near Home St. and Harrison. It landed on the parkway amid a flock of sparrows. My husband has also seen a hawk chasing golf balls on the golf course driving range in Columbus Park.

Dan Haley from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 3:46 PM

David--You like hawks and squirrels but don't think a cat ought to be allowed some freedom? If my cat Jester goes missing I'm coming to your house to look around.

Pauline from River Forest  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 3:04 PM

O'h boy, a few years ago it was roaming coyotes and now hawks. Our world is more intragrated with nature than we thought


Posted: October 6th, 2010 2:59 PM

It's unusual that it's hanging around so low, but a hawk spotting isn't exactly unusual. And if you let your cats roam, don't be surprised if they don't come back. They eat songbirds, and there are animals that eat them.

Beth S. from River Forest  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 2:41 PM

I believe I saw this hawk in River Forest near the Dominick's on North Ave. on Monday afternoon. I saw a large bird with what appeared to be a white head being chased off by two large crows.

David Kindler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 6th, 2010 2:40 PM

I saw this, or a similar, hawk tussling with a squirrel at Lindberg Park on Saturday. I've seen hawks circling over the park on several occasions. Cool. Can't believe people's first reaction would be fear. If people allow their cats to roam free outdoors I am rooting or the Hawk.

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