Archive for December, 2008

The hawk was back again today … went away empty-handed – TG!!!

Cooper’s??? Sharp-shinned???

Lordy, but it’s hard to tell, eh???

I think I’m going with Sharp-shinned … eye stripe, square tail, dark nape, maybe a thin white band on the tip of his tail, eyes closer to the beak …

What do you all think??? Here’s an ID guide … http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/Abo…terIDtable.htm

If You’re Squeamish, Close Yer Eyes!

I was sooo dismayed about this hawk hunting my songbirds at my feeders. Felt like such a traitor – like I wasn’t looking after my birdies properly or well enough. Even had nightmares last night about it.

He managed to nail two that I know of for sure. These pics are from the first kill. The second one was right in on the table under my porch roof – and he sat there and was de-feathering it when I saw him and dashed out there, which made him fly off with it. No pics of that one.

These pics are taken inside my wood shed and where the landlord keeps his herbicide sprayer. That’s what the tank and the gauge are.

When I first saw him, he was sitting up on the gate the landlord had there and I was about 12 feet away from him, waving my arms and telling him to get lost. But he just sat there and looked at me. Because the sunlight was behind him, I could mostly just see his silhouette and didn’t realize he had a bird already, but couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t leave. Then I saw the bird, which is a female house sparrow. Then he picked up that little bird and brought it INTO the shed and only about 8-10 feet away from me.

Like an idiot, I was snapping pics like mad and forgot to compensate for the sunlight behind him while he was still on the gate. This first pic was shot with the natural light that just happened to hit him the right way, and was the only one that turned out while he was on the gate. The sparrow is still alive in this pic and you can see the protective covering on the hawk’s eyes.

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The rest of the pics are taken when he moved inside out of the sunlight and I finally figured out to turn the flash on. What a dummy I am, eh??? They are rather self-explanatory and if you look closely, you can even see the feathers flying before he decided it was chow time. After he de-feathered it, he picked it up and took off with it, so these are all I managed to get … but I am pleased with being able to document the process. All I have done with these is resize and a touch of sharpening. No crops or colour adjustments at all….

NOW, close your eyes if the sight of a kill bothers you … more about that later …

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Due to my less than perfect night’s sleep, I went online this morning to see if I could find some way to discourage him or to protect the little birds better. Not a lot of help there, mostly they say this is Ma Nature at her finest – and the survival of the best of the species. They said 85% of all raptors don’t survive the first year and that they miss far more prey than they actually get. (Two in one day was MORE than enough for me!) The experts say the ones they catch are usually older or sick – or just not paying attention.

So, I guess I will just have to accept that this is how it is supposed to be – or else take down my feeders and let the little birds fend for themselves for a month or so. By then, the hawk will have found a new hunting ground and moved off, and I can put the feeders back up. They say the little birds will be back.

What to do … what to do ……

Edited to add: I am just guessing this is a Cooper’s Hawk … it may be a Sharp-shinned Hawk. If anyone knows for absolutely positive which one it is, please let me know. I used this to try to decide, but it looks like a little of each Thanks.

Today’s Birdies

Some of these are not that great … I’m just in a sharing mood …

First off … I didn’t know Red-winged Blackbirds stayed here all winter, but this one showed up briefly at my feeders today. I was shooting in a different direction, and saw him out of the corner of my eye and did a fast doubletake and only managed this and one other shot of him ,,,

The rest are just random shots … took probably over 1,000 pics today and ditched 95% of them. Probably should have ditched a few of these as well, but … sheesh I think the little brown birds are female House Finches, but they could be female House Sparrows, instead. If you know for sure, let me know, okay? Thanks.

1. Oregon Junco

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6. Male House Finches

7. Male House Finch puffed up against the cold

8. House Finches – one of each A few minutes before I took this they had their noses tucked into their fluffy breasts and were taking a snooze

These plump birds are regulars year ’round at my house. They clean up the bird seed the others chuck out of the higher feeders. Over time, they have become quite “friendly” – depending on how much natural food is out there for them.

I find them quite comical – their heads are so small compared to their much larger, round bodies.  Someone once commented years ago, “Who blew him up with a bicycle pump??!!” and I always think of that now when I see them and it makes me smile.

This year there are more than usual around – they all had families and so now there’s clouds of them moving around the orchard. They come right up on my deck and then up onto the table where I have platform feeders under cover. They climb right into the little train cars full of food and they make me laugh because it looks like they are going for a ride on the train – hahhahahah.

The Mourning Doves do the same …

Hope they make you smile, too.

Just a Little Craziness … *hee hee*

Okay, so it started snowing two days ago and already I hate it. The first day it was kinda cool and looked pretty, the second it was cold and yukky and today it’s just plain miserable. Roll on Spring!

While I was still thinking it was pretty, I went out and shot these silly shots …

1. Going out to explore this new white world …

2. Hey, watch where you’re going, Mister!

3. Silly human – who dressed YOU this morning???

4. Two’s Company …

5. Three’s a Crowd …

6. Slight disagreement on where we’re going … Mass Confusion …

7. Pick up your feet, Human …

8. Missed me by a feather HA HA HA!!!! …

9. YIKES! Who let the dawg out?????????

10. Think I better go home now … it’s dangerous out here …

Oregon Junco

Lots of these cocky little fellas at the feeder today.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAbou…Junco_dtl.html

These aren’t the greatest shots but you’ll get the drift of how much the wild birds enjoy the crabapples the landlord leaves on the trees over the winter.

So far I have seen the Northern Flickers, Mourning Doves and the House Finches munching away on them … no pics of the Mourning Doves eating but here’s the other two from last week BEFORE it snowed …..

1. Northern Flicker

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4. Female House Finch

5. Upside down, even …

Weeds in the Snow

So … I was bored, depressed, disheartened and generally feeling blah …

What’s a girl to do????????????

TAKE PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!

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It’s STILL snowing – we’ve had about 8 inches since yesterday and I am sick of it already.