egwenna: (Default)
[personal profile] egwenna
I put Isaac down for his morning nap (not that he's sleeping yet) and carted things down to the kitchen and the trash and I'm standing at the sink washing my hands and notice odd movement in the backyard. Now, mind you, I'm near-sighted and almost never wear my glasses (they are for TV and movies only) so I'm standing there for a minute trying to decide what this is without being able to really see it. Whatever it is, it's the same color as the leaves in the backyard and moving rhythmically. It's not spazzy and gray, so it's not a squirrel and it's too big to be any of the birds I expect to see... I go get my glasses.

It's a young hawk eating a squirrel it apparently bagged in my backyard. I am quite psyched by this. I love raptors... I enjoy most predators in general, in fact. Cute and cuddly is fine, but I like fierce and strong. So I watch it until it notices me, picks up the remains of its breakfast and flies off into the pine trees.

Very cool.

If I'd seen this years ago I'd have been intentionally feeding the squirrels... fattening the buggers up for the hawks and waiting with a camera on standby. And really, now that I think about it, we get lots of neat things in this backyard. Lots of different woodpeckers, all sorts of birds (I have a feeder), toads, and even a marmot one spring (I was sad when it didn't move in). There's a skunk that comes to visit sometimes (he and I skirt around each other carefully) and once we had baby rabbits too. Hopefully the new house in Ramsey will be even more diverse, but without the feral cats. Next house, I don't care what anyone says, if there are feral cats I am boxing their butts up and taking them down to the humane society.

Anyway, at the new place I want to put up a bat-box or two, find a good place for my bird-feeders and someplace to set up for the toads that I can peek into now and again to see if I have a tenant.

And maybe I'll check around and see if I can put a platform or something up for the hawks to nest on...

Date: 2005-02-12 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember when we were at the Liberty Science Center, and you were educating me on all the different sorts of raptors they had on display.

Date: 2005-02-12 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
At one point I was really into falconry and even looked into the space and habitat I'd need for my own hawk. Redtails and Harris hawks are 'beginners' hawks, which is fine with me because they're my favorites. The Harris hawks are noted for hunting in family packs, like wolves, which is rare and while I haven't hit the book yet to identify my visitor this morning, I'm sorta wondering if that's not what it was.

Date: 2005-02-12 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do the Harris hawks come this far north?

We have local populations of redtail, redshoulder, sharp-shinned, coopers, and of course, kestrals.

I see other hawks seasonally, many of them bigger birds than are local, as all the populations shift south in winter. I've not tried to identify them, as sightings are usually as I'm zooming past in my car.

I've seen young cooper/sharpshinned hawks hunting in residential areas where folks have feeders. (These two are differentiated mostly by size, hard to tell apart... they are different from the redtail and the redshoulder by being slimmer, taller in the leg, and with a tail that looks less fan-like while hovering or in forward flight.)

Date: 2005-02-12 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think you have Harris hawks. They're mostly southern birds and the book I just dug through seems to think I don't have them either. I could have sworn I saw one the other summer, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.

I've narrowed my visitor down to three candidates: Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, or Cooper's Hawk. He seemed a little slim and small to be a Red-tail, and I don't think he had quite the right head for a Cooper's, so the falcon is my top choice. The problem with juveniles is they're all mottled brown and against a backdrop of dead leaves it's really hard to pick out the details.

Date: 2005-02-13 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There used to be peregrines (well, probably still are) ALL OVER THE PLACE in upstate NY this time of year. Like, in a 45 minute drive along the highway, we would count a dozen or more. (I don't know for certain they were Peregrine falcons, but I'm pretty sure.) I love them too. I have a picture of me holding one from when a bird rehabilitation center did a display at the mall when I was in high school. The funny thing is, the clothes I was wearing are the same colors as the falcon.

Date: 2005-02-13 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Color coordinated photo-op. Gotta love it.

Supposedly they're here year-round, but you very seldom see them. Mostly it's Red-Tails, Red-shouldered, Cooper's Hawks and the like, so this was neat. When I was in L.I. I dated a guy who worked at a nature center, so sometimes we had the animals in our house (if he was taking them to a school) and other times I would go down there and help. It was fun, but there's no place here to get involved like that.

Date: 2005-02-12 04:07 pm (UTC)
immlass: (Default)
From: [personal profile] immlass
We never saw him eating, but the office building that Michael and I used to work in in Houston had a hawk of some sort who used to hang around in the neighborhood. There was a lot of undeveloped land in the area, so I'm sure he had his pick of little field critters.

Date: 2005-02-12 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Neat. There are buildings in NYC with platforms and nesting hawks and falcons on them. One article had a quote from a guy saying he'd had to move his desk so he didn't face the window because he was spending too much time watching them.

Date: 2005-02-12 04:22 pm (UTC)
immlass: (Default)
From: [personal profile] immlass
Fortunately for our work habits, the room we saw our hawk from most of the time was the break room.

Date: 2005-02-12 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good entertainment for a break. :-)


egwenna: (Default)

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