Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just 34 minutes

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.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - 1

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!


Gracen Duffield said...

Hey Mike -
I've noticed that the birds that come to my feeders come, grab a seed, and fly back in the bushes as fast as possible, even the chickadees. I suspect that the hawks must be buzzing the feeders already!
I've seen some swooshes through the trees, but not anything I can identify!

Mikael Behrens said...

Hi Gracen,

In the winter we have Cooper's Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, and American Kestrels -- all species that prey on birds in some degree. I've seen all of these in our neighborhood except Peregrine Falcons. So let me know what you see!