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Woman details close-up encounter with Red-tailed Hawk in Santee

A woman came face-to-face with a Red-tailed Hawk in Santee while it was perched on a truck with a pigeon in its talons, and she caught the whole encounter on video.

SANTEE, Calif. —

A Santee resident shared video with CBS 8 of a hawk perched atop a car in her community with a meal gripped in its talons. 

Ashley Compton was outside her home around 8 a.m. on December 11 when she noticed a bird on top of one of the vehicles – but it wasn’t just any bird; it appeared to be a Red-tailed Hawk. 

“I was so close I was honestly a little nervous he would attack me,” Compton said. 

Compton told CBS 8 one of her Santee neighbors on Burrock Drive and Timberlane Way feeds pigeons in the area, which attracts hawks that frequently make a meal of pigeons flying or resting in the neighborhood – and that’s precisely what this hawk had in its talons. 

Video showed the red-tailed hawk perched on top of a truck with a pigeon in its talons.

“The Red-tailed Hawk diet is mainly small mammals, like voles, rats, rabbits, and ground squirrels, but they also eat birds and reptiles. Occasionally, they will eat bats, frogs, and toads,” according to the Sacramento Audubon Society. 

“This hawk was brave and was just on top of this SUV in front of my house,” Compton said. 

San Diego Zoo’s Wildlife Alliance said Red-tailed hawks are common in San Diego. 

“Red-tailed hawks are common in San Diego County and throughout North America, whether perched on a pole, soaring overhead or just a distant, high-pitched "kkeeer..." heard from beyond the trees. These raptors, or birds of prey, have keen eyesight, binocular vision, powerful talons for grabbing prey, and a sharp beak. They are one of the largest North American hawks and are commonly seen flying over rural areas from coast to coast,” San Diego Zoo shared. 

Video showed the hawk and its winged meal take off from the truck and fly into the wind towards a home. 

WATCH RELATED: San Diego Humane Society rehabs injured hawk (2019)

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