Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter birds

After a frustratingly slow fall bird-wise (we even only had one lowly little white-crowned sparrow pass through, and it was a juvenile that I saw once), things seem to be picking up. Yay!

This week we had our first American Tree Sparrow of the winter at our hopper feeder, the Hairy Woodpecker made a reappearance for the first time in a couple of months, and we had Yard Bird Species #52 - White-breasted Nuthatch!

We also have a Cooper's Hawk back stalking our yard. Last year I came home several times to carnage in the snow, but only a couple of times did I catch the culprits in the act - one was a Sharp-shinned Hawk happily munching away on a sparrow, and the other was a Red-Tail that took out a Mourning Dove right under our back window.

I didn't even know the Cooper's was back until the other morning. I was outside with the pup before leaving for work on Tuesday, and I was standing near the driveway, by my hubby's SUV. All of a sudden a sparrow comes screaming past the front of the barn/storage shed, followed by a Cooper's Hawk in full hunting mode. The sparrow just barely made it under Dave's truck and the Cooper's veered off just in time to avoid smacking into the bumper. I was maybe... 10 feet away from the action, and it was SO cool to be that close to a hawk on the hunt.

I saw the Cooper's again yesterday morning, as it dove after some birds at the side of our house. I just happened to look out the front door in time to see him fly up and off (talons empty and no carnage to be found in its wake).

So yes! Fun times are coming. I'm also getting a new camera soon, so I hope I'll be able to put it to good use this winter. And I'm REALLY hoping the snowy owls make it this far south again - I missed them last year!

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