Friday, May 08, 2009

Birds At My Feeder: Part 3..Drama In The Sky

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"The wild hawk stood with the down on his beak
And stared with his foot on the prey."
~ Lord Alfred Tennyson, The Poet's Song

Hawks hang around our house... loving the tall pines and oaks of the preserve. I've seen them perching high in the branches and gliding smoothly on the warm updrafts around the golf course, occasionally taking time to settle on our fence for a short rest. One afternoon, I was sitting on the patio and a small warbler flew in front of me, head high not more than four feet away... right behind him was the hawk, head high and oblivious to me. I could feel the wind turbulence from its wings and in open space the warbler would be toast, or at least breakfast. Fortunately, for the warbler, he weaved in and out through the branches of the preserve where the hawk could not maneuver as quickly and was safe to fly another day.

The successful hunter poses........

But, on another day, we were sitting in the den, resting, relaxing.. when suddenly at the upper windows looking out over the patio there was a slight thud and the wild fluttering of wings much too large for the usual feeder visitors. When I ran in the living room to get my camera... there he was; the large majestic Cooper's hawk with his captured prey, a hapless red-winged blackbird. I like the red-winged blackbird and would rather he had caught one of those pesky boat-tailed blackbirds or grackles. But, there he was, a foot off the patio in the grass, posing with his supper.

..."I'm ready for my closeup" Posted by Picasa

A magnificent bird, he sat stately still, as if waiting for me... I took seven or eight shots from different angles, even this one with his orange eyes glaring straight at me... then, as if to dismiss the insignificant human, he turned.. grasped his spoils in those razor sharp talons and flew silently off into the woods. What an amazing display of power and grace.

This is the third in a series documenting the birds we've seen at our feeders. Part one is here and Part two, here. Cooper will strut his stuff aboard Friday's Ark this week and just might fly on over to "I and The Bird #100" next week. I also think this marvelous creature deserves to be seen over at Camera Critters.

(end of post)

Camera Critters

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