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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hawks Watching

Yesterday I promised a  photo of our red-shouldered hawk.  One of the pair was flying over head trying to keep my attention away from the nest while I tried to thake his picture. I never did catch him (or her) but, thanks to my zoom lense, I did notice that I was also being watched from within the nest. 
You have to look closely. I included a picture of the hawk looking sideways so that you can see that tale-tell beak in case you don't believe me from seeing the direct-on photo. The hawk is well camoflauged in the nest.
The pair have been active in this nest at least 4 years.  We first noticed them when an imature hawk was standing beside our driveway watching us.  A parent screamed from a branch overhead until finally its offspring flew a short ways off and we drove on by. That year there were two young hawks that, for a week, kept appearing in the way of our car.  The hawks may have been there before, but I worked 40-60 hours a week and seldom noticed anything outside my office. 
I've enjoyed smaller birds this week as well.  Sunday, a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers chose the sugar maple in my front yard as their "date" tree.  The female was not a bit bothered by my car pulling up close by, but her male friend flew off across the yard to wait for me to go inside before returning to business. 

 She patiently waited for him, never leaving her spot.
Afterwards, they both enjoyed a good meal of sunflower seeds, taking turns at the feeder.
Most of the feeder's visitors have been regulars.  The squirrels and chipmonks are back now that the snow is gone.  I've been keeping the easily-accessable feeder almost empty to discourage the squirrells.  They can clean out a feeder too fast and I can't afford to supply their whole diet.   
The newest visitors are the grackels.  They are fun to watch as they attempt to crowd their larg body onto the bird feeder.  My feeder is equipped with a perch that closes off the food if the bird is too heavy.  It is meant to baffle a squirrel, but it also works for big birds. 
This one worked with the feeder a while until it finally decided it was easier to follow the lead of the mourning doves and scavenge the seeds from the ground.  He seems to be watching the dove to learn how to eat off the ground. Perhaps he is just deciding if he can "take" the dove and steal her food. He had better not try it.  She has six family members watching from a nearby pine tree.


Naturedigital said...

You have done it again.. All these are great photographs.... and thank you for sharing with us.
Just one minor point though.. who is watching who in this case..
Have a nice day..

Beyond The Garden said...

Costas, you have a good point. There is quite a bit of watching going on in this days entry. You have some nice hawk photos yourself.