Monday, January 23, 2006

Hawks at the bird feeder

I am feeding the birds in more ways then one this winter. I have been seeing two hawks hanging out at my birdfeeders. The first is a really big one, about the size of a (Very) large crow. The second is small one that flys around frentically from tree to tree looking for lunch. The songbirds dont seem to be too put off by the big one, but they disappear fast when the small one is around. From what I have read I think the birds have called it right. I think the big one is eyeing the Koi in my pond. Maybe its just taking a breather and likes the atmosphere of my yard. I see it in the morning sitting on my pond fence, just hanging out.

I feel kind of sorry for the songbirds, but I kind of like having the hawks around. Its kind of a 'Balance of Nature' thing with unatural birdfeeders. I remember a time when I was a kid and raptors were much rarer because of DDT. Now it seems like I see them all over the place. At least its a 'fair' fight for the songbirds, not like a well fed housecat that kills for the heck of it.

I have been trying to identify the two types of birds. I am finding it to be a major challange even with one of them perched on the tree outside my window. Apparently alot of hawks look very similar to one another. The best identification marks are seen when they are flying or soaring. I only see them flying into pine trees and perching. From research and observation I think the small one is either a sharp-shinned hawk or Cooper's hawk. The second one is either a broad winged hawk or a red shouldered. I am leaning towards red shouldered since apparently the broad winged ones are aptly named as they wing south for the winter.

I think it would be absolutely impossible to sneak up on one of these things. They barely will let me look out the window at them. I would love to get closer to get a better, longer look and hopefully some photos. They really have a really amazing awareness of everything going around them. At the tiniest noise or movement they are gone without leaving any idea of where they went. They use as many obstacles and cover as they can to secure a quick obscured escape.

Hope they do not mind gardeners.


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