Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

December 18, 2015

Welcome to Raptor City

The Hawk activity in our yard has been pretty intense the last week or so. 1 Sharp-shinned, 1 Cooper's and the resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks have been coming in looking to snag a meal from our other visiting birds.

I've not had to top up our bird feeders in 2 weeks now!

The birds do come in, but it's sporadic and very brief. It's made counting for Project Feeder Watch difficult.  I really got to be watching when species come in for these short spells, and try to spot the threat that chases after them. I was happy to spot 7 Northern Cardinals in one tree late Saturday afternoon. I should have got the camera out even if it was quite dark by this time. Oh well, perhaps another day? A couple days prior to our count days I estimate we had about 97 Pigeons come in at once. It was insane! No wonder the Hawks see this backyard as a potential feeding spot.

In that mix of so many Pigeons there were 3 "ginger birds" as I call them, the reddish brown types, which the Sibley guide says are scarce. I guess that's pretty cool if you don't mind these city birds? Seeing them reminded me of my old friend, who is no longer with us, the one I called "Red". You can read about him here if you like.

Red was pretty cool for a Pigeon, even though him and I got off to a wrong start early on.

That 97 count disappeared quite fast thanks to a lurking Cooper's Hawk who I have seen almost daily this week.

I'm seeing a Sharp-shinned Hawk usually first every day, and later on the Cooper's shows up, who drives the smaller Hawk away.

And on occasion the Red-tails pop up. Usually they just fly right in like they own the place, send everything fleeing for their lives and continue onward after whatever they choose. But a couple times I've seen one in a tree down back. Or both were on a neighbour's old television tower before work on Wednesday. I raced to get my camera after spotting them from the window, but the birds were gone by the time I got my shoes on and out the back door.

I shared this shot on my Facebook page and tried to start a little game of "caption this". My pick was this...

"Hi! I know this may sound crazy since we just met... but I really want to eat your Pigeons and Squirrels!"

I love all birds as I have probably mentioned in other blogs, like anyone needs me to tell them that. Gimmie Pigeons, gimmie Peregrines! It don't matter.

Of course I am missing my boy Pierre with the insanity. But he's smart enough to know when to stay away. Our encounters happen maybe one or two times a week and that is it the last few weeks. He comes in for a good feed, a little belly rub and off he goes again.

Here I am with the inability to smile for the camera while Pierre and his lady friend feed from my hand. Why so serious? I hate being on the spot, even when I put myself there, yet I really am happy to see him on this day being December 17, 2015.

Last bits... I've not seen any take downs, or remnants of a kill, but obviously things are happening around here. I always say if this backyard turns into a blood bath, I'd take a break from feeding the birds. The birds prove to me that I am not their only food source, they have other places to feed.

Here is a yard visitor I saw Wednesday night that is probably very happy with the mild temperatures so far this December. A big Virginia Opossum!

We sure are blessed with the nature channel we have in our own backyard!

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