Monday, June 27, 2016
The Hawk Show of Early June
On a Sunday afternoon in early June, I chanced to spy the arrival of a hawk on the back fence just outside the kitchen bay windows. For me, this is always exciting, and I love to watch and snag as many shots of him as I can. He decided to take up a perch in the red eye althea planted at that back corner of the house, which for him was conveniently between the hanging window feeder and the squirrel-proof feeder on a post...and within sight of another feeder in the middle of the back yard, hanging on a shepherd's crook:
He was a very patient watcher and waiter, so I positioned myself inside the kitchen window to capture photos as I waited for him to pounce:
Which he did eventually and unsuccessfully:
And then his hawkeyes spied movement from at least one creature who had scurried for safety, but to an unwise location:
I finally get a couple of chipmunks to be regular foragers in the yard, and this darn hawk takes one of them away for dinner. Dang it!
The following day (and, actually, the next as well), the hawk returned. First he landed on the fence near the feeders and his perch tree, then he flew around to the front Bradford Pear but was chased out by aggressively defensive other birds. He retreated to one of the trees on the back property line, watched for a short while, squawked a few times, and flew off towards the west.
About an hour later, I noticed that the bird feeders outside the kitchen bay/eating nook were quiet and deserted. I happened to spot that the hawk had returned and was again hiding in the red eye althea:
I kept my eye on him for a very, very long time. He moved three or four times within the bush, and one of those perches gave me a chance to focus on his very intimidating claws:
For the three hours he stayed in the tree, he was watching everything intently but didn't seem to be in any hurry to go for a kill. Several times, a flock of pigeons and a flight of mourning doves settled in on the ground beneath him to scavenge the fallen birdseed, and he made no move. He just watched.
When he finally pounced, he missed the pigeon!
Then he jumped up onto the kamado grill, then back to the ground, shot something nasty out of his hind ends, danced over to the butterfly bush, watched a bit longer, and then flew around the side of the house and was gone. Which meant my own long-term investment in keeping my eye on him that afternoon was not rewarded with great attack and/or consume photos.