In extreme contrast to last weekend's Big Sit, this weekend I only spent 34 minutes birding the neighborhood. I sat in the backyard this morning and watched and listened with my notepad and a cup of coffee. Even birding for such a short amount of time puts me into a better mood, widening my perspective and calming my thoughts. The highlight was when half a dozen perched White-winged Doves noisily exploded into flight because a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over them. The hawk flew right over me too, and I didn't need my binoculars to see the long squared off tail, the fast and powerful wingbeats from short rounded wings, and the relatively small head with just a hint of a black cap. The view I got was very similar to this photo I took of a Sharp-shinned Hawk back in February of 2009.
It's funny to me that the doves were so scared even though this hawk is almost exactly the same size as they are, maybe even a little bit smaller. But Sharp-shinned Hawks look almost exactly like the larger Cooper's Hawks, and both specialize in hunting other birds. So I guess if I was a White-winged Dove I wouldn't have taken any chances either!