Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

December 22, 2010

Return of the Hawks... Winter 2010

The cold weather has set in, the snow is on the ground and Hawks are all around. It's true, more and more can be seen through this season as a lot of their food source seemingly disappears in the snow... small mammals. Smaller birds become more of a staple diet through these months.

How do I know? Steady attacks at my bird feeders by these birds of prey.

There definitely is at least one Coopers Hawk who has been taking out some Pigeons lately. I don't mind really because Pigeons are a dime a dozen around here. Heck, I can even handle the mess they leave in the aftermath.

A gross sad sighting to some but this is life in the world of the wild. A Hawk only kills what he needs to eat, to survive. If you take the idea that this was a living creature out of your mind for a moment... look at that picture above, such contrast over the snow, the markings on the feathers are quite nice too.

I see more Hawks in my travels too! Mostly Red Tailed Hawks along the highways. On my 19 km trek from work to home, I see 4 every afternoon. Obviously 2 pairs.

I have seen another Red Tail a number of times on Scarlett Road as I get nearer to home. This one is rather bold and doesn't seem to be bothered too much by people in his vicinity. Too many I try to photograph high-tail from me long before I can get a zoom on them.

Last Saturday I was driving along Hwy 427 and counted 9 Hawks (all Red Tails I think) from Derry Road to Hwy 7 which isn't any more than 10 kms or so. Impressive! The thought of slamming on the brakes, jumping out and getting a photo run through my mind; but not such an easy task when driving 105 km/hr.

I snapped this one that seemed to hover just at the top of this hill. I thought I might get an eye-level in-flight shot but when I reached the top of the hill, he was gone.

A little further up the road I spotted this guy sitting at an intersection. I snapped this from my passenger window.

I've noticed a number of American Kestrels in my travels lately too! Three were in an area at the top of Hwy 427 last week. I took this picture through my front windshield before he flew off.

I must add that it's not just the winter when I see Hawks. They are just more visible at this time, to me anyways. All through the year, at any given time, I can have some bird of prey make or try to make a meal of one of my feathered friends. This Sharp Shin Hawk visited a few months back and caught himself a little House Sparrow.

I know a few who get quite upset over the fact of such birds visiting their properties/feeders and making a meal of the birds they feed. While it's never been my intention when backyard bird feeding, and I do my best to keep the feeders in spots with quick escape routes and hide outs... sometimes it just happens that the Hawk is clever and quick enough or a frightened bird goes the wrong way. Luckily for me it's been commoners that show up here in large numbers like House Sparrows, European Starlings and Pigeons who get nabbed. Catching a Blue Jay or Northern Cardinal would be heart-breaking to me since I see not much more than a pair of each.

But not every bird who gets caught, gets eaten. This Sharp Shin has a European Starling in his clutches and we thought he was done for but after a couple minutes of struggle, the Starling broke free and flew off. We sure don't need the television on, just have to look out the kitchen window for a daily story.

So, in your travels, keep your eye to the sky and around you, and you just might see one or a few of these guys along the way. Enjoy them!

2 comments: review said...

The snow has brought back the hawks. They are now looking for their prey. Thanks for the picture. It is so hot here that I want to just lay on that snow.

Rob said...

Where are you located?

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