Echo Park wildlife drama

Hawk and snake on Scott Avenue/David. A.

It’s hard to say what a hawk was doing tangled up with a snake in the middle of Scott Avenue in Echo Park on Friday afternoon. But David A., who snapped the photo above, and a few other people watched and waited as the serpent and bird of prey were locked in a strange embrace on the pavement near Elysian Park:

I thought I heard one person say that they thought the hawk had been run over as it just came down with the snake in the street. It must have just grabbed it. I was there maybe five minutes. In that time, the hawk was in the position pictured and the snake was slowly freeing itself (not so much wrestling). The hawk wasn’t moving much. We stood by to make sure no cars would run them over. Once free, the hawk flew off and seemed to not be harmed.

The drama ended with the snake slowly slithering back in the direction of  the park, David said.


  1. Glad The Garden Snake Escaped ‘

  2. Holy cow, that’s incredible! Thanks for sharing.

    I was walking my dogs on the 4th of July a few years back I found a snake on one of the paved paths in Elysian Park. Our guess was that it had been dropped by a hawk, it was under trees, so maybe the hawk decided to cut it’s losses and take off. After giving me a good scare (at first glance I thought it was a rattle snake) it died of it’s internal injuries within a few minutes of us finding it.

  3. My brother is an avian biologist and he informs me that’s a Red-Tailed Hawk and a gopher snake, in case anyone was curious. He thinks it’s plausible the hawk was hit by a car mid-attack and got stunned. He’s seen hawks killed by cars with snakes in their talons before — apparently “hawks don’t really think about anything else once they’re on to a prey item.” So there ya go 🙂

    • Red tailed hawk or Cooper’s hawk? I think the latter, possibly a juvenile. Note the striped squared off tail, which is different from a red tail hawk. Ask your brother again to look at the photo.

    • That’s not a red-railed hawk. There’s a lot of variability among hawks, so Cooper’s hawk is a possibility. But I think it’s a peregrine falcon. Look at the face, and light banding on the legs, and faint pattern on the tail. Cooper’s hawks generally have darker tail banding and a lighter head.

  4. Amazing shot!

  5. The hawk was trying to imitate the Mexican flag, but the snake was having none of it. As he slithered away from the bemused hawk, he was heard yelling back at the hawk “Don’t tread on me, or I’ll tread all over your ass bitch!”

  6. Amazing photo, thanks for posting

  7. Ah, the wilderland that is Echo Park!

  8. That photo is fantastic. Echo Park drama!

  9. Seems like the hawks have been very active lately. I hear them all the time ( i live on morton ave) and saw 3 circling in Elysian and being dive bombed by a crow on Christmas. Amazing photo!

  10. Looks to me like the hawk was trying to create a small-snake subdivision. (Sorry, that was kinda weak.)

  11. Aren’t we supposed to, like, found a nation on that spot or something?

  12. people! in a town (and neighborhood) with a graphically minded, tech-ed out population can no one see that this is a clear incidence of photoshop? look at where the snake is in relation to the hawk’s legs! cut and sprouting out of them!

  13. So great on so many levels — unbelievable incident in middle of city, caught on camera — and whoa, largest snake I’ve seen in EP/Elysian hills. Once caught two small (14″-ers) in my yard on Sargent, but this is a large snake.

    And totally funny, hawk looks like “What the F have I gotten myself into???”

  14. “I’ve made a huge mis-snake!”

    thanks I’ll show myself out

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