Snake versus Falcon

January 11th, 2012 · by Daniela Ogden

As told to our Facebook fan Sharon D. by her friend in Montana:

This has to be the weirdest thing that ever floated by me on the Snake River.  A Falcon and a snake were stuck together in death lock, each wanting to kill the other first.  My guess is that the Falcon snatched up the tasty snake, and it somehow got its tail around the falcon’s neck, strangling it in midair causing both of them to crash into the river. 

They are both alive and well, considering.  I think a few more minutes and the snake would have won.  Its tail was tied in a  knot around the Falcon’s neck, getting tighter by the second.  I got the snake untied and they both made it.

Neither of them bit me or scratched me; the snake didn’t want to stop biting the falcon’s leg, and only let go after I untangled them.  I got the water out of the falcon’s lungs with birdie inversion technique, and stayed with him until he was almost dried off in the sun, and flying a little.  This is the weirdest thing I have ever pulled out of the water!




Categories: How to help birds · Peregrine Falcon

10 Comments so far ↓

  • Judy Lewis

    Congratulations You are a hero.

  • Elizabeth

    That looks like a gopher snake, but be careful. Rattlesnakes can lose their rattles. Rattlesnakes have broader, triangular heads.

    Also, you are an angel.

  • Jill T.

    That is an amazing story. Whatever kind of bird it was, I am sure is very grateful for you to have come along to help out the grave situation he was in. I love hearing about people like you

    Thank you

  • Amy Girten

    Great documentation of a primal struggle and a situation where human intervention was a win-win.

  • Julie Zickefoose

    Cool story–great that both could be saved! The bird looks like a juvenile broad-winged hawk to me- too small to be a red-tail. Just a guess, because immature hawks are difficult to ID and WET immature hawks are even tougher, but I’m sure it’s not a falcon. Broad-wings specialize in eating reptiles, so if it weren’t for the river, he’d probably have prevailed in time.

  • bob p.

    not a falcon. Looks like a red-tailed hawk. but neat story.

  • Wook

    @ Sherry – Gophersnake. No Rattle on the tail.

  • sherry marcotte

    was that a Diamondback? or a Gophersnake. you are fortunate and kind.

  • Bruce

    These photos and the story are amazing. That last picture of the poor falcon looks he’s half scared to death and half relieved.

    At the start of the story, I was wondering why you intervened. By the end, I think I understand.

  • bonnibell

    Wow! That is amazing. Bless you for saving both of those little lives….