Yesterday, the usual bustle of activity at our bird feeders suddenly fell silent. The cause was an unexpected visitor.
It is a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk, the smallest North American hawk. They like oak and conifer forests, so perhaps this one has been living in the park near our house. According to Wikipedia, these hawks favor small songbirds as prey and often target backyard bird feeders. A couple of months ago, one took a small bird from under my nose as I was standing at the kitchen window. It was over in an instant. A flash of wings, a loud thump against the window, a few feathers floating on the breeze.
Normally, the feeders are crowded with cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches and other familiar suburban songbirds of the US. They grab a seed, then fly to the nearby trees to crack it open. On the ground about them, chipmunks and the local black squirrels glean the dropped sunflower and safflower seeds. But with the visit of the young hawk, an eerie silence fell, and everyone kept out of sight. He perched on the pole for a long time, comfortably surveying the yard, then flew off. No doubt he’ll be back.
Clever little birdies!
Yes, they know when to vacate the premises!
I saw one take off with a mourning dove not long ago. The poor dove was still alive as it was being eaten. Nature is so brutal!
Sadly, this is so true. Nature red in tooth and claw. It is hard to see how any zoologist could also be a theist. A theist who believes in a benevolent deity, anyway.
It had certainly come for a spot of lunch or dinner! Hawks and Eagles are so beautiful when soaring in the sky. We walked past a dead mouse the other day and Kid 1 said he felt sad to see it dead, then he shrugged and walked off stating ‘Oh well, it’s the circle of life I suppose.’ I hope I get a slightly longer eulogy than that when it’s my turn!
LOL! Yes, “the circle of life” comes into better focus as we age 🙂
oh he is beautiful but still glad no other birdies fell prey this time round phew!
Yes, he’s got to eat. Or if it’s a she, she has to feed her babies. But it’s shocking to watch it happen in front of your eyes. That’s one reason we no longer allow our cats to roam outside (the other being that I don’t think it’s safe.)
oh don’t remind me of what our cat back home used to bring in and line up for us to see at the entrance! shudders… i’d rather think they live on cat food 😉
Whoever came up with “sharp shinned” ??? That’s what I wanna know…
Good question. What I want to know is who came up with “Titmouse” as a name for a bird.
I’m guessing that fellow can’t believe his good fortune–having run into the grazing spot for all his favorite food. Poor tiny feathered friends must surely think we’re setting a deadly trap for them. Kinda like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. “I smell children!”
Ah well, everyone must eat, right? Some just have no table manners.
Oh wow, I just got a chilling flashback to how terrified I was as a kid by the Child Catcher! Disney never worried about scaring children back then, did they? They reveled in it!