Thursday, May 31, 2012

Red-tailed Hawk gets the Hare

Haven't done much birding this week as I've been busy tending to the vegetable garden and doing some much dreaded spring cleaning so the birds in an around my yard have been my escape.  The biggest highlights of the week would be confirmed Chimney Swifts nesting in my chimney.  I thought I saw they flying into it last year but could never confirm but saw two of them enter Saturday night and seen them flying in an out ever since.  Another highlight would be two Red-tailed Hawks who've been flying over my yard since the weekend.

In fact, they've been so close overhead I managed a couple of really good shots of them including the one above.  Naturally I was wondering what the appeal was as this is the first year I've seen them this close and I would soon find out Wednesday night.  I could hear the resident American Robins and Northern Mockingbird making a racket so knew something was amiss so peeked my head out the window and this is what I saw

I'd get my bins on it to see what it was eating and it would be a hare of some sort.  I'd grab my camera and bins and go outside and in my car for a better look at it and hopeful pictures.  Between seeing me and the constant dive bombing of the mockingbird, the hawk had enough and decided to move elsewhere.

The problem would be the hare was far too big for moving!  Clearly frustrated he moved to the top of the neighbors garage and perched for a bit as the mockingbird continued to dive bomb him.  He'd look over at me from time to time but I wasn't going anywhere as the other neighbors orange cat was in my yard about 10 minutes before that so thought he may still be around so wanted to be an extra set of eyes for the hawk.  After a while he'd come back down and start on his dinner.

I watched from the car and my youngest son watched from the roof where he got a different view but could see all of the various passerines going in and out of the trees all crying out their warning calls.  He would tell me this afterwards and am convinced there is some hope for him for birding in the future as I thought it was very cool he would pick up that behaviour and he even knew what many of the birds were.  I'd look up at him from time to time to see his reaction to a hawk butchering a hare before his eyes and for the most part he didn't wince until we got the part below.

And this would be the hawk literally degutting the hare!  He would spend about 20 minutes or so eating and then he flew up to a nearby tree to clean himself somewhat and off he would fly much to my dismay.  I'd go to the kill site and before my eyes would be the internal organs of the hare with flies already swarming so figured a Turkey Vulture would soon be around to finish the job which they've done in my yard before.

I'd wake up this morning and could hear the robins making the same chipping note so look out the window and the Red-tailed Hawk would be back for some morning breakfast which consisted of leftovers of course!  The mockingbird would be back mobbing but this time I just looked from the porch and after a while he carried the hare off to feast in peace I'm assuming.  A highlight of my week by far and it just goes to show you how much fun birding can be in your own back yard.  I'm making it a hobby every night now and something I look forward to doing after a long day at work.

Take are all

This morning I'

1 comment:

Samuel said...

Awesome shots! I have been seeing more near my house.


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