Watched them like a hawk
Saturday October 30th 2010, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

When you are married to a computer scientist and it is nearly Halloween, you get a cable plugged into your monitor that makes your computer haunted: random back buttons, caps locks, punctuation or letters that scoot to the far end of the screen, the cursor twittering around in circles… Alright, thanks, dear, that’s enough Halloween spirit for the moment. Out!

Meantime.  I got up early this morning and was puttering around, when I saw…

This past spring my neighbor was having her tallest tree trimmed (not this redwood) when the city’s tree workers abruptly stopped and told her that was all they could do–no explanation. ‘Bye.

It is against Federal law to disturb a raptor’s nest, after all the DDT damage that nearly wiped out many large bird species. Still, since that tree trimming, there had been no sign of the resident Cooper’s hawk, and I have missed it.  I’ve wondered if the babies survived.

The bluejays, who nested elsewhere this year with a hawk’s nest right there overhead, recently noticed it was safe to take over my yard again, and there have been at least three of them fighting territorial fights over my feeder the last few weeks.

Not today.  Not a jay in sight all day. There was a juvenile Cooper’s, big, stunningly beautiful, perched on the arm of the barbecue grill out there, taking the measure of the yard. Glancing nonchalantly over towards the birdfeeders: hey breakfast, where are you? I asked for room service!

I guess the juveniles survived that tree trimming after all?

It didn’t happen to look up behind it.  I took this picture from where it had been. If it had, it would have seen a small black squirrel on that post, tail completely fluffed, peering over the edge of the roof of the shed. Mesmerized. It couldn’t take its eyes off that hawk. It moved only slightly, a little closer in as if for a better look, hovering right over the edge, during the moments the hawk turned safely totally away and towards the feeders.

And I sat watching them, measuring the size and potential speed of the squirrel relative to the hawk: if it wants you, honey, you are dead meat.

The hawk was cool with my being there, so much so that I even managed to reach for my camera after a careful long minute or so. Then, before I could raise it, it beat its wings wide, glided across my yard, and was gone.

Off hunting for my cursor for me.

6 Comments so far
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I didn’t know that Federal law and I am so glad to know! Now if our neighbors get (any) weirder about our shared forest, I can mention it and the Red-Tail Hawks that nest just on our side of the property line. (Plus the owls somewhere close by.)
I’m glad your Cooper’s are back!

Comment by Barbara S. 10.30.10 @ 9:02 pm

Such a guy!

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.31.10 @ 2:15 am

the property behind us used to be a large open field with some trees and I saw a red tail hawk there on a regular basis (he did a great job keeping the field mice out of my garage, thank you very much!)

two years ago the owners of the property sold it to someone that built a huge 3 story retirement apartment complex there

I still see the hawk once in a while, but he doesn’t live right there any more

I miss him — now I’m having to deal with the field mice (like little bunny foo foo!)

Comment by Bev 10.31.10 @ 7:59 am

My computer will do strange things without it being Halloween — or even the month of October.

Comment by Don Meyer 10.31.10 @ 10:57 am

I miss the days when I could sit on my porch and watch the wildlife. Oh, wait — that would be us. The raccoon who stares at us through the kitchen door is obviously taking notes for some nature review. I could have sworn I saw him smirk when I moved the dry cat food into plastic containers. The smirk was justified. He had no trouble opening it!

Comment by Patricia Day 11.01.10 @ 9:01 am

Why couldn’t the tree trimmers have taken time to explain?

Comment by Channon 11.01.10 @ 9:58 am

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