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Lucky catch at local hot spot

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Jock Elliott, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    No brag, just fact: my wife and I are the proud owners of a local hot spot. Yup, our birdfeeder has been declared "The place to be" by a mob of about 50 sparrows.

    Here's an example of the activity:

    FZ200_birds_at_feeder_in_snowstorm_002-001_2_Medium_.JPG

    All the activity has attracted some other attention as well; yesterday what we believe is a Cooper's Hawk showed up, landed in tree next to the feeder and then dropped into a small thicket behind the feeder and stalked around on the ground, looking for, well, lunch. I was lucky enough to catch him at 800mm (e) with the FZ200. I was shooting two layers of plastic and two layers of glass, so the photo quality is, as the French say, "merde." Nevertheless, I consider myself lucky to have gotten the shot.

    FZ200_Cooper_s_hawk_001-001_Medium_.JPG

    I've never seen this behavior in a hawk before.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    • Like Like x 6
  2. carlb

    carlb SC Regular

    101
    Jun 3, 2013
    Hi Jock, a great couple of images, regardless of the plastic and glass diffusion. What great drama to look for the hawk as the sparrows look for lunch. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'm sure he appreciates you baiting the hook.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    about a month ago I was parked outside of a house waiting a couple hours for an estate sale to start. I watched a hawk hiding on the ground in the bushes not too far from a feeder. Every so often, he would lunge into the air and after one of the unsuspecting birds. I saw around 10 misses and then one chase that took them very nearly out of sight and I think he got one. I had also never seen that behavior before.

    When I was a kid, seeing a hawk was a pretty rare thing. I see them EVERYWHERE now. I wonder who a hawk's predator is?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I have no idea who a hawk's predator is, but it is an excellent question!

    At a falconry place, I once held a hawk on my arm, and they are even more impressive up close.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  6. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    According to the interwebs, owls and racoons.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    The massive cemetery across the street from our house ( / unofficial arboretum... thing is 150 acres I think?) harbors a LOT of hawks. So many that it's very unusual for me to walk through it with eyes peeled and NOT see one in a low branch somewhere. I may have told the story already, but when our daughter was 0-10 months old, she had incredibly bad colic, wouldn't sleep more than 90 mins at a time, ever, period. So my wife and I would trade off weekend mornings, where one of us got to sleep in til about 10 while the other one got up with her at 6 and got her out of the house for as long as we could hold out. My go-to routine was walking her through the cemetery in a stroller, sometimes even napping on the ground next to her if she fell asleep. I was exhausted.

    One day I put her on my chest in a carrier and climbed the huge stone tower they built in the 1870's or so. It's like a castle turret. here, I'll find a picture...

    Here's the Mrs atop the same tower nowadays, to give you an idea of the view.
    15469629115_02daf5b799_b. KBRX5806 by gordopuggy, on Flickr

    Ok so uber-exhausted KillRamsey climbs this tower with his cranky infant daughter on his chest, so she has something to look at. And we get to the top, and we're looking around at the view, and something positively blasts past my head, maybe 5 or 6 feet away. Two somethings. All I heard was wings. I spin around to see what it was, and I see a hawk chasing a pigeon, HARD. Pigeon is banking and weaving, just like a scene out of Top Gun. They make a 180 and head back towards the tower, climbing back up to our level. And then less than 100 feet away, BANG, the hawk makes contact and grabs the pigeon. And what I recall is that it looked like fireworks... the puffball of feathers in mid-air exploded out a foot or two, then slooooowly drifted down to the ground. And I looked around to say DID YOU SEE THAT?! only to realize that we were alone. Nobody but the two of us saw it. The adrenaline rush was nice, and helped keep me awake a little longer.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Killramsey,

    Awesome story!

    I once saw a kestrel (sparrowhawk) take a small songbird off our other feeder. It was like, as you said, Top Gun.

    As to the kids, the small boy who could rest his head on my shoulder while his toes were perched on my belt. Now he looks down at me and just graduated from college.

    Merrrrry Christmas,

    Jock
     
  9. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Kyle: Please let us know if your daughter ever decides to be a fighter pilot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Is there a Cover Charge? :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Perhaps there should be . . . I fill the feeder at 8am, and by late afternoon, it's empty again . . .

    Cheers, Jock
     
  12. BillN

    BillN SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Bill
    too many sparrows around anyway
     
    • Like Like x 1