One of the most significant benefits to my position as Executive Director of Irvine Nature Center is access to the 210 acres of wild land we have here—and the incredible species that call it home. Our meadow, a wide open space filled with tall grasses and wildflowers, is a prime location to see large birds of prey on the hunt. Last week, I went out to the meadow for a walk after lunch. There were a number of hawks circling the space, waiting to swoop down and grab their prey. When one decided to strike, I saw it dive quickly and come back up from the grasses with something small, furry, and brown. I initially thought it was a mole, but moles spend so much of their time in their underground burrows, it would be surprising that one would be caught so easily above ground. Plus, this would have been a very small mole. It was then I remembered the meadow vole, a small rodent that is native to our area and quite prevalent. I’m sure that’s what this hawk grabbed for his late afternoon lunch.