The trees, empty of their summer folliage, continue to provide perches for the neighborhood birds. The regulars, chickadees, gold and house finches, bluejays, nuthatches and of course the very vocal titmice, are usually available for easy entertainment. All that peace and apparant harmony can change in an instant when a hawk appears, turning the feeder area into a raptor diner. Last fall this hawk spent the afternoon staking out our sugar maple, halting all other activity and keeping things pretty quiet around the house. I don't know what type of hawk it is but, with my very limited skill, I would say maybe a shap-shinned. The tail appears to me to be pretty straight across, not as rounded as the books show for a coopers hawk. My problem with this is that it seemed larger than a sharp-shinned. I thought it bigger than a crow. Maybe some of my readers can help identify it.
Raptors are not uncommon in our yard. A couple years ago, Jeff was working in the yard when he noticed a strange screaming noise. He was having trouble locating the direction of the sound. He soon realized that it was almost overhead. There, perched on the electric pole was an osprey with a fish clutched in its talons. It appeared to be directing all this commotion at Jeff. Once he stopped and noticed the bird, it flew away. Was it showing off? Bragging that it had filched a fish out of our pond a half-mile away?
I'm still trying to make friends with the Crows, but am not progressing very quickly. The idea may have hatched when I read something Julie Zickafoos said. In her book, Letters from Eden she wrote that some coastal crows learned to recognize her car and followed it expecting her to give them a treat when she returned home. Recently I heard the NPR story about people who banded crows in the nest. This was understandably traumatic for the crows who remembered the faces of the banders and harrassed them, evidently telling their crow friends and relatives to also harrass the evil banders.