Red-tailed Hawk vs. Mink

Red-tailed hawk flies off with its prey, a mink, at the Hay Harbor Club golf course, early August, 2018. Tommy Colman Photo

Bill Colman, his son Tommy, and father-in-law Bob Meyer were playing golf at the Hay Harbor Club golf course in early August, when Mr. Meyer nearly walked into what appeared to be an injured bird in the practice area between the fifth and sixth holes.

Upon closer inspection, it was a red-tailed hawk that was having trouble lifting off the ground because something was in its talons. After several attempts, the bird lifted off carrying its prey in one talon.

The prey was a mink, which according to Island residents is “everywhere” on Fishers Island. A member of the weasel family, the first mink was reportedly spotted here about 12 years ago, but they’ve been appearing in larger numbers over the past three years.

Minks are semi-aquatic and native to North America. They hunt mostly at night but can also be active during the day. Their diet includes frogs, fish, rabbits, mice, muskrats and ducks. There was a reported east end mink attack on a pheasant that ended in a “ball of feathers.”

Photos by Bill and Tommy Colman