If life is for the birds, it depends which bird you are, sometimes

Yesterday afternoon I looked out in the yard to see if my bird feeders needed to be filled. I glanced through the window and could see not a bird in sight. Further scrutiny told me why.

Sitting there atop one of Max’s favorite chew sticks was this fellow. An immature Cooper’s Hawk. I apologize for the quality of the the photo as it is taken though glass. I didn’t want to open the window in case I frightened him off. Despite the fact that he obviously evoked some terror in the little juncos, chickadees and sparrows that frequent the feeders, I found it exciting to see him up close and personal.

I like all birds, which is why I have the feeders. But (and apologies to the little grain and worm eaters) most of all I am fascinated by raptors. They look like sleek and powerful and slightly sinisiter killing machines and they have attitude that renders them very different from their prey.

I used to keep chickens years ago and periodically they would hunker down in the hen run or depart for the sanctuary of the house. I would look heavenward and see why. Hundreds of feet in the air a hawk would be circling. They knew the shape those ostensibly (and mistakenly deemed so) stupid fowl on the ground. They knew terror from the skies and how rapidly a representative of the avian luftwaffe could swoop down and nail one of their numbers.

We have a lot of raptors around here. We have hawks like the one pictured, as well as American kestrels, and we have a resident owl whom we’re very fond of, and bald eagles around here are virtually as common as sparrows.

I also noted, shortly before the hawk departed that right inside one of the feeders was a chickadee, hunkered down, hoping to not be noticed. Do birds pray? If so, to which god? Anyway, the prayers worked, he was still there when the hawk left.


10 responses to “If life is for the birds, it depends which bird you are, sometimes

  1. Yet another thing we have in common. Raptors are amazing. I actually saw one catch a squirrel once in California. Problem was the squirrel was too big for him to fly off with so he killed it right there (slowly I might add – do they always kill so slowly?) and had himself a fresh meal before flying off with a doggy bag so to speak…

  2. I have always had a fascination with birds, as did my grandma and as does my mother. I even have a number of colored glass birdies in the house…


  3. In my area, we have Eagles nesting on mobile phone towers…

  4. I, too, find birds fascinating. We have Black Shrike here, who have comandeered the Grevillea shrub. Should another species dare to dine, they are screeched and hunted off, with much rapidity!

  5. Wow, what a beauty.

  6. We have a laughing falcon checking out for vermin round the hen runs…a magnificent creature.
    But i could do without the appraising looks I get from the vulture family who live round the pig farm on the way to town.

  7. We have hawks and vultures around here and I love seeing them in the air. There was a lovely one today that sounded sort of like a sea bird. I was sitting in my chair outside catching some rays and closed my eyes and pretended I was at the beach.

    I just researched the sound and it was probably a Gray Hawk.

  8. You did well to grab the photo, Ian. Usually by the time I have rushed to get the phone or camera the bird (dog, squirrel) has disappeared.

  9. FF: It was just a stroke of blind luck that I saw him. I went to get something at the kitchen sink, and there he was out the window.
    Geewits: We have vultures here, too. Especially in salmon spawning season. I love watching them soar because they’re like albatrosses in that they never move their wings.

  10. When I lived in your area we used to have an osprey that I watched for hours on end…til the damn neighbor cut down the tree his nest was in! I miss him/her – and the tree – it used to shade the lawn in summer. But there is a Great Horned Owl to whom I hope to be a close acquaintance here and he is a magnificent fella.
    So far we are just on speaking terms about 100 yards from one another 🙂

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