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Friday, December 17, 2010

Loretta's Amazing Photo

Just a few hours ago, SIL Loretta sent me an amazing picture. She has given me permission to tell the story, and share the photo.

She said, "When I looked out the window this morning, I saw that my birdbath had been knocked off its pedestal, for the third time, and was all in pieces this time. I immediately blamed the raccoons.

Then I looked over towards my fence and saw a huge rotund bird. I tried to get a photo from my bedroom, but could not zoom in enough, so I sneaked outside and came around the side of the shed…stuck my camera out and clicked. Got the photo, but then he flew away when I tried again."

Here's a crop of the photo she sent:

Cooper's Hawk

I'm pretty sure this is an immature Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii. If the entire tail were visible, I could be more sure. However, the large head and short wings really make me think Cooper's. Loretta and the hawk are in Alabama, so the range is appropriate (for the hawk... I think Loretta's happy there too).

The rest of the story: "I was shocked when I looked down at his feet when I zoomed in on the photo and sad to see one of my friends in his claws. When I was first watching him from my bedroom window, I thought he was preening his feathers... boy was I wrong about that."

Well, you know me. I am really sorry for Loretta's broken birdbath, and for the loss of her pretty little friend. But I love the hawks too, and they also have to eat. Cooper's and sharp-shinned (the other candidate for the ID) both eat mostly small birds.

At any rate, we can probably all agree that Loretta got a great picture!

See It's For You to see Loretta
See Red-Tailed Hawk It Is


Duxbury Ramblers said...

Great shot, I always hope they will get a starling but sometimes they get one of the rarer ones but nature will take care of the balance.
Lucky Loretta having such a beautiful visitor.

rainfield61 said...

What a story: a hawk have to eat too.

vanilla said...

Excellent work, Loretta and Joan!

A few years ago, we had a sparrow hawk using our feeder as a smorgasbord. No pictures.

Ann said...

Too bad about the birdbath and the little friend but as you said Loretta got a great shot.

Lynne said...

I'm amazed that he didn't fly away but looks like he was pretty occupied. Great shot!

jeanlivingsimple said...

My guess is that this is an immature Cooper's Hawk. It is way to large for a Sharpie. They are small hawks.
Yep...Hawks have to eat but hate it when they grab a native songbird.

Jackie said...

Sorry to hear about her bird bath but what a wonderful shot she got.

Oh boy you know I'd love to get that shot!! You guys have got me really into this bird thing!!

Thanks Loretta and you too Joan!

Sharkbytes said...

Carol- A few more starlings for lunch would be a great thing

rainfield- yes, indeed. A vegetarian hawk would be quite a sight

vanilla- that's what I called them growing up... if you are using the same books I am, they are now called a Northern Harrier

Lynne- I think he did fly before she got another shot.

Jean- glad you confirmed this. We have Cooper's here occasionally, but not so often that I am real comfortable with the ID. Loretta later sent me a blurry pic, but you could see the rounded tail, so that helped confirm it.

Jackie- birds never get boring- they always do something new!

Lin said...

My mom used to always comfort me in such situations as that by saying that they can only catch old or unhealthy birds. It's nature's way of keeping the herd strong. I sure hope she was right. I know they have to eat too, but it sure makes me feel bad when I see it. It's worse when you see them kill for no reason--my raccoons did that to my fish. Played with them, took them out of the water and left them to die on the lawn. That was worse.

RNSANE said...

That is an amazing photograph! Well, it's true that creatures need to eat but, if the hawks are using the bird bath as their feeding station, that's kind of sad.

The other day, I felt terrible when driving home after dropping my son at the train for his mornin gcommute. Just a few blocks from my house ( and we're only sixteen miles from downtown San Francisco ), a small doe was dead on the side of the road. We aren't far from our local reservoir where we often see deer and, there are hills within a couple of miles. As houses are built, though, the deer and other smaller critters get pushed further and furter away and, of course, they are no match for the cars on the road.

Gail said...

Great picture! To bad about the bird bath and the bird.

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