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.