Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Predators at the Feeder Part 1

November 11th, as I sat inside by the glass door, a movement caught my eye. I looked up and there was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in the tree next to the house. Perching as Pale Male often does at about 10 feet above the ground, scoping the patterns of the local fauna. So here of course this hawk was staring at the bird feeder. Yea! An RT in the yard! Eeek! He might eat Doorstep Dove. I grabbed the camera and but being a country hawk, as soon as I moved, he flapped out of sight. The above photograph is the swing shot with the camera as he left.

Therefore on the afternoon of November 12th, I went out to the far back yard, set up, and decided to see if the Red-tail would make a return visit.

I didn't even get the camera set up before I heard a squirrel making a warning whine, I started looking up at the trees in an attempt to find him. Every bird in the place took off like a shot.

3:34:53PM Central--Then I heard a tussle, wings flapping, the sticks in the brush pile quivered. Instead of a Red-tail, a Northern Shrike was attempting to nab one of the House Sparrows on his way to cover. The Shrike disappeared into the pile of branches. Then he was on top of the pile. Then he took to his wings.
(For a look at a Northern Shrike, go to--

I looked around and there was the whining squirrel in the Maple.

No House Sparrows were yet visible coming from the depths of the brush pile.

3:45:47PM As usual at a warning, the House Finch zoom into the front yard Spruce. A lone male House Finch sits sentinel.

3:48:27PM A number of the females are still taking refuge high in the Maple tree nearest the feeder.
The Dark-eyed Juncos with the flash of white in their tails have dispersed toward all three Spruce in the backyard. Their flight paths and white flashes a way to disrupt the focus of the predator.

They've taken quite a fright and still aren't back. Of course perhaps the Shrike or the Red-tail may still be around and I just haven't spotted them.

3:51PM A squirrel reappears and begins to forage.

3:52:57PM the House Finch begin to land on the feeder.

3:53:07PM The birds start to seriously flock in.
3:53:17PM The small birds scatter leaving two female House Finch alert but in mid-chew.

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