Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nature Notes


I have mixed emotions about the recent visitors to our garden. On one hand I have been searching the woods for as far back as I can remember to get a decent view of a hawk, but nary a one came into view. The only ones I have seen have been on telephone wires when we have been out in the car in heavy traffic, where it has been impossible to stop and get a good photo. The other night we were relaxing in front of the TV, and the adult Cooper's Hawk (in the photo below) landed on the rail of our deck out back. I posted about him at the end of my Monday Ramble. I almost dropped off my seat when I saw it and grabbed the camera. I haven't seen one in our yard for many years and I was as pleased as punch, but I worried for our other feathered friends who visit the bird feeders frequently, not to mention the squirrels. When he left I thought it might be the last time I saw him.

Well, what do you know, the next evening the juvenile Cooper's Hawk landed in exactly the same spot as what I am presuming was his parent. We think that perhaps he is being taught how to hunt by his mum or dad, not sure whether that adult is a male or a female. He wasn't as skittish as his parent who had flown away when it saw me pointing my camera at it the previous night. The young one hasn't learned to be afraid of humans yet, as he was too interested in what was in the trees to be bothered with us, and I was able to get a dozen shots of him before he went on his way.

My third sighting was just now when I suddenly saw something land on a branch in one of the trees. I knew who had come back - it was the adult - and I quickly grabbed the camera again, but this time he was too far away for a decent photo as many branches obscured my view. He was obviously hunting and this is where my mixed emotions come in. I have become very attached to all the little visitors to my bird feeders, and although I recognize this beautiful bird has the right to survive, I fear for their survival as well. However, I know this is the cycle of life and is nature's way.


I had one more visitor last night, this time around midnight. When I turned the light on to check out back, as I always do before I go to bed - policeman's daughter to the end - I saw my little bandit had returned. I'm talking about a smallish sized raccoon busily eating the bird seed. I have a new feeder and he was sticking his paws in the slit along the ledge, to grasp anything he could get a hold of. He also knew I was there but he didn't give a hoot. In fact, he nonchalantly climbed down the rail, ambled over to the water dish, took one look at me, took a long drink and just as nonchalantly went back up to the feeder and continued feeding. I watched him for another ten to 15 minutes before he disappeared down the steps. It's been quite a week for wildlife and I haven't even had to leave the house.


Michelle is the host of Nature Notes. Thank you Michelle for this great meme.

31 comments:

Kay said...

Hawks are such beautiful birds. I have seen several red-tailed hawks in our area when I am out hiking.

aka Penelope said...

The cycle of life is puzzling at times and far from gentle in a world of hunters and hunted. For the moment I’ve given up on bird feeding as my invited guests sometimes become prey. Nonetheless, it is the design of nature and its creatures are amazing to have around the yard.:)

Cloudia said...

Eloquent! You well speak for all who love nature and her creatures.


Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

imac said...

These shots are wonderful Denise.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I have to admit I love the photo of the hawk...
We have hawks who were raised in the woods, and now they have in turn raised their own babies. I always love to see them circling the garden, but get extremely nervous as well, knowing they are on the hunt.
You made me smile with your turning the light on....I do they same :) It's the "Dixon of Dock Green' in us both ...lol

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It is such a privilege to have wildlife visitors to the garden isn't it. I have spent many hours just gazing out of our windows, either just hoping for a glimpse or simply admiring the creatures who had already called. Lovely post Denise. A x

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

Beautiful photographs of the hawks. I understand your mixed emotions concerning the hawks, your little feathered friends and the squirrels.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Denise: Those are just beautiful captures of the hawk.

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of the juvie Coopers and the adult. They are awesome looking birds. hen they hang around my yard all the little birds disappear fast.

J Bar said...

Great nature shots.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sounds like us here.... Tonight, there was another skunk on our deck ... When I turned on the light, he just slowly wandered away. Last night, we had a bat which was on the top of the wall at the top of our front porch--just sleeping away!!!!! Fun Fun!!!!

I know what you mean about hawks... I hope none ever start coming around here on a permanent basis... All of the birds will disappear... I would hate that... SO--I hope yours moves on soon...

Hugs,
Betsy

Carver said...

These are great shots. I have had the same mixed feeling about a hawk that hung out in my yard. I can always tell when he's around because many of the other birds will stay hidden until he leaves. The really small birds don't seem to be bothered by the hawks when they are around. I think some are too small to be suitable prey (not big enough for a meal) but other are prey. Overall though I think even with predatory birds there continues to be a mix, some just have to be more wary, kind of like when cats are around.

Francisca said...

This is a wonderful post, Denise. The captures are soft and lovely.

cat said...

Beautiful shots of the fantastic bird och prey. I understand your mixed feelings, since I myself feel exactly the same.

Kay said...

That is such an amazing photo of the Cooper's Hawk. He looks so dignified. It used to surprise me to see such big birds around. I never was able to get a good shot of one. You really got a fantastic shot! Wow!

Cezar and Léia said...

A hawks as a visitor there! wow it's really amazing I would not imagine it here! :)
Léia

Joe Todd said...

I've had a hawk land in my neighbors garden twice this summer but I didn't have camera at hand.. How neat

ascu75 aka Don said...

Great post Denise, I love hawks and it is a shame but they have too survive too. Thanks for dropping by. I would love to go to the film night but the building is not disabled friendly so will miss it. The building has an old 1920's lift installed and is like a museum but I cant negotiate the front steps any more, shame cos it will be good. XXX Don.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Yep, hawks have to eat also.

Marina said...

Υour son and daughter-in-low are so sweet and creative!!! You must be a very happy mother having them around you! That smile of yours shows exactly that!!!
A person who loves flowers and annimals is very sensitive and has a kind sole. That's you!!!
I hope one day we meet somewhere...maybe in Greece...maybe in US...who knows where life will lead us all...

Roy said...

These are amazing shots of the Hawk Denise.

Leora said...

He's a gorgeous hawk. You got lovely shots of him.

I can understand how it must be hard to watch them hunt the others.

jabblog said...

I do sympathise, Denise. I was thrilled to bits when a Sparrowhawk came to call but less delighted when it caught one of the small birds. One day it chased them into the holly bush - strike one to the tinies!

EG Wow said...

I've had hawks sit on telephone wires with a clear view of our feeders so I think I know how you feel. I was glad when it finally moved on!

As for the raccoon. Hmm. They are indeed very cute but we had three young ones up on our roof a couple of weeks ago and they were pulling up the shingles. We caught them one-by-one in a have-a-heart trap and transported them to a woodland area far, far away.

A piece of news said...

Hawks are everywhere in Kansas and Iowa. I love seeing them sitting on the signs along the interstate staring at us.

Margaret Cloud said...

I feel like not feeding any of the birds, squirrels and bunnies, they do become prey to hawks or the neighbors cats. But I would feel bad if I quit now, very nice pictures.

Squirrel said...

These are some wonderful shots of the hawks Denise.

Janie said...

Sounds like an exciting time at the feeder. I hope the hawks find their prey elsewhere.

Brookville Daily Photo said...

These are excellent shots of this Coopers Hawk, Denise.

Mary said...

Wonderful to get the chance for such great shots of the hawk! I too worry about my other birds. I found a couple feathers on the ground out front that look a lot like hawk feathers of some sort...from an attack on another bird? I've got enough young House Sparrows that I could spare a few...sorry if that sounds cruel...but you can't tell the hawk which birds to choose.

Rambling Woods said...

Great photos!!! I too have very mixed feelings. I have had a hawk swoop in twice in the last 2 days. Probably a Coopers and each time I was outside and it flushed and took off...but soon...I keep telling myself it has to eat...Michelle