I'd been hearing the whining of a squirrel, and realize he's right in Backyard's face. Though when comparing their sizes, I don't think Backyard is going to be taking out many squirrels. I wonder if he's tried and is responsible for my visually challenged group of squirrels?
Yow! Suddenly he transforms into an unmistakable Accipiter. Rather like those little dinosaurs in Jurassic Park that seem cute and then they transform and do in the unscrupulous computer guy.
He preens but his gold eyes don't rest.
He focuses, mid preen.
Then glares again. Wow, grumpy. Am I getting in his way?
A little more preening but on the anterior this time. Still his eyes are collecting information. I find Cooper's eyes ever so much creepier than those of a Red-tail. Just think of Pale Male's, and Junior's, and Tristan's (PM III), round innocent looking brown eyes, their fluffy pale heads, though raptors and carnivores, they just don't look the part nearly so intensely.
Look! Legs! This is no stocky bird after all, he's just been keeping his long legs warm
And a quick turn.
He's back covering his legs. I told you it was cold.
He stares fixedly at the birds at the neighbor's feeder. She told me she's caught Backyard sitting on the feeder itself. He's looking very very interested about something.
I really am beginning to think he does not like me at all. Perhaps I am interfering and he doesn't want to come out of the tree while I'm here. Hey guy, Cooper's can take prey in the air, but then again they are secretive and he's been being quite exposed already.
There's are two doves in the next tree above him. Notice how this one has sandwiched herself between two branches. Defense against attack in the way that Pale Male always sleeps with a branch over reaching his head? There have been no birds visible in my yard and only one or two in the neighbor's. Connie, the neighbor, has a section of close meshed wooden fence in front of her feeder and behind it a good sized bush. The birds must feel more protected over there.
I really do feel like I'm turning into an icicle myself.
Oh dear, did I bring his attention to the two doves? I do hope not. I can't take the cold any more. I really really need to warm up. Besides I'll bet I can get a view of him from inside the house.
Oh yes, being in the house is going to be better and there he is. Perfect.
Then suddenly he swoops off the branch and out of sight. Where did he go? He was just waiting for me to go into the house now wasn't he? Not so perfect.
I take to the unshoveled path in the park and head east. The birds still haven't come out of hiding though males of different species are sitting on high perches checking the surrounding area. I hear a repeated, tic, tic, tic, tic. Almost like a fingernail striking a wooden table. I look up. Is the Junco making that sound with his trachea or am I actually hearing his beak tapping together? I walk a good way to High Street searching the trees or any other likely eating spot. Nothing. No squirrel whines, no Crow calls, not a thing.
She'd seen the feathers yesterday lying in the snow. I suddenly remember that I'd seen a feather in the snow as I'd walked into the yard, but I'd been concentrating on what Connie, had been whacking on her roof.
Feathers in the snow, then I see more, and more, and more. Had they been here when I walked the same ground on my way out of the yard while scanning the trees to find the Cooper eating? They belong to a Mourning Dove.
What is that phrase from Tennyson that Marie Winn, author Red-tails In Love, often quotes, " Nature, red in tooth and claw".