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Hawk Watch

Photo courtesy Dick Coe

By: Dick Coe

On Sunday, October 10th, I was wiping dishes when I noticed that there was no bird activity at two feeders off the east deck of our home. I always become suspicious and concerned for the birds as they pretty well know when a predator is around and they attempt to hide in dense cover. Yet I have seen hawks pick off birds at feeders or crash into dense cover and get a bird.

It was 2:45 p.m. and I saw what looked like a larger bird perched on a ponderosa branch between the tube and tray feeders. Generally, hawks are hard to photograph and although beautiful, are unwelcome in birdwatchers yards. The hawk was about 12 inches from the tip of the tail to the beak. I guessed it was a juvenile Sharp Shinned or Coopers Hawk as they along with the Goshawk dine on song birds. It was a Sharp Shinned. All three of these hawk species are in the Accipiter family.

Particularly the Sharp Shinned and Coopers Hawks frequent our yard weekly, looking for unsuspecting song birds as well as Stellers Jays and Doves. Studies indicate hawks get birds after eight or nine attempts.

With the bird migration still in progress and our habitual local birds using the feeders, bird watchers should sharpen their Hawk Watch.

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