Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Where are the feeder birds? And the Hawk on the Antenna.

3:54PM A flock of Crows fly out in mass from the trees behind the trees across the street, vocalizing loudly. What is going on?
Except for one period of time today there have been absolutely no birds at the feeder and none at the water bowl. Though I heard them chirping very softly to each other from the evergreens. I filled the bath around noon.
2:40:39PM And not one bird appeared until after 2:00PM. Hours after the ice was dumped and the water poured in which is highly unusual. And when they did arrive, they arrived in larger simultaneous groups.
2:42PM Except the Red-bellied Woodpecker who flushed previous guests, had his quickest drink on record so far and then disappeared.
2:45PM They leap in to bathe. Junco vocalizes before plunging in.
2:46Pm Damn single species bathing we haven't got time to be picky.
3:53PM By 3:00PM they were all gone once again. Except for the four Mourning Doves perched in what I assume they believe to be safe perches amongst branches.

After hearing the Crows, I pulled on my shoes, grabbed the point and shoot camera, stuck it in my pocket, opened the back door and went out to investigate what might have happened that caused the Crows to burst into the sky. I walked around the house, turned the front corner, looked across the street, and holey, moley there's a hawk sitting on the antenna of the neighbor's roof. So the Cooper's Hawk is at least one thing that is keeping the feeder birds in the bushes, and likely what sent the Crows up as well.
I snap a long low light shot with the Cooper's and go into the house for magnification. He's not dumb and he's a country hawk so when I return after only a moment he's gone---but as three Crows are heading south in a hurry cawing, I'm assuming he went that way.
It's getting dark, but look carefully to the left of Santa and you'll see the antenna perpendicular and go further up to the cross bar where the Coop was sitting.

I then cross the street and stand in front of the hawk house in an attempt at perspective. Of course as I can't sit on the antenna, I'm not sure if the hawk can see over the evergreens or not, but he no doubt can see birds flying in and out of the yard. The Mourning Doves positions now make more sense. They are either low in branches or sitting higher but then most likely they're view-obscured from the hawk by the Spruce trees. If they were to fly out, the Cooper's Hawk would see them and could be after them like a shot so sitting tight must make the most sense. Some of the Juncos who were in the brush pile waited until I was in the backyard to make a break for the backyard spruces.
Suddenly I heard the Crows again. This time from the north. I see three turning in flight at the end of the block to the west with either a larger Crow in front of them or the Cooper's winging through bare branches. I short cut across the street and head for the park. Then down the path to the north. One crow is sitting on a power pole looking east. A second crow flies towards him. The first comes off the pole cawing and heads towards the antenna. The second lands on the pole for a few seconds, then he's off as well, following the first. The third, who was some way behind, doesn't make the pole stop but heads over the roof of the house across the street.
And just what did the switch on the pole mean? Just another question to be answered perhaps another day.
Donegal Browne

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