Unseen Predators

by AJ 28. January 2013 11:41

My feeders are usually pretty active, but every once in awhile I look out and everything is motionless.  One day a Downy Woodpecker didn't even twitch for twenty minutes! That's the sign that a raptor, probably an accipiter, is in the area.  This winter I have had two different Cooper's Hawks, an adult and a juvenile, cruising the area for snacks.  Last week I saw all the activity abruptly stop and got up to look out the window.  I could see nothing but the birds obviously knew it was close.  All of a sudden the adult Cooper's landed on the shepherd's hook three feet from my nose.  It was frustrating but reaching for my camera was out of the question.  What a gorgeous bird!

It looked around a bit and then took off for the brushy area where tons of House Sparrows hang out.  What fun to watch the hawk jump through the brush in search of a bite to eat.  It's amazing how such a big bird can fly through the tangles.

I think my all-time favorite accipiter encounter was several years ago while searching for No. Saw-whet Owls at Lake Ahquabi State Park.  As I came around a tree, there was a Northern Goshawk with a freshly killed bunny.  Now a Goshawk is a big bird but try as it might it just couldn't fly carrying its bunny rabbit.  It eyed me, tried again and failed, and finally moved off.  So did I.  It's tough enough making a living with all that snow cover.



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