Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Hawk

Birdsong fills the air in the mornings at my house. From the "ter radio radio radio" of the wren, the "pa-tewter pa-tewter pa-tewter" of the cardinals, the redwing blackbirds harsh cry, and the white wing doves coo, I hear a beautiful symphony to start my day. While I was enjoying the tranquilty of the morning and the birds visiting the feeders, I saw a bird coming in fast from the treeline across the road. I could tell it was a bigger bird than the doves and the sparrows, but it was coming in much faster . . . I realized it was a small hawk and it was certainly on a mission. It came in low only slightly above the grassline flying through the barbed wire fence -the destination - the hanging feeder on the other side of my front porch. I had moved my sitting spot toward the north end of my long porch to have better viewing of my bluebirds so I did not see whether he was successful in his stealth raid. I only saw him come in, I did not see his departure. But all the little birds disappeared. The air was eerily silent. From the woodpile in the pasture, I would occasionally hear a very small, very timid "Peep" . . . . "Peep" . . . . . . . . . . . . "Peep" My realm was very silent for a very long time as the birds fled to their hiding places. Thirty to forty five minutes later, my "regulars" slowly began to return.

Since I had a sharp shinned hawk during the winter, my best guess is that my raptor was either a sharp shinned or a cooper's hawk. While I have had northern harriers in the area recently, this bird's behavior and appearance did not match.

Having seen this quick and unexpected attack . . . I can't help but wonder if my missing bluebird has been a meal for this hawk.

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