Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Return of the Death Rocket

The sharp-shinned hawk has been visiting our feeders once every other day or so for the past few weeks. We watched him sit on our brushpile for about 20 minutes, waiting for the feeder birds to
return to the trees around the feeder. He watched them very intently. Not a single bird flew past or landed within his field of view that he did not stare holes in, wanting to chase, catch, kill, eat.

I want to do a longer post about his sit-and-wait hunting technique. But I am out of time for today. More soon, I promise.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Death Rocket

Northern cardinal male. We have one less of these on the farm this morning.

First thing this morning, while I was talking on the telephone with a hick buddy from West Virginny, the death rocket came blasting past the studio window.

This was a big female sharp-shinned hawk and she swooped up into feet-forward position to grab a male northern cardinal. Her piercing talons must have killed the redbird instantly because he hung limp as she pumped her wings and propelled the two of them into the sumac thicket. Entering the thicket at full speed, she turned just so, and did not disturb a single snowflake from the branches as she passed.

The entire event took less than three seconds. The sharpie was in blurry, fluid motion the entire time. Many of the birds at the feeders next to the birch tree were so surprised that they did not have time to react. And in the aftermath, no one dared visit the feeders for half an hour, despite the ice and snow covering everything.

Nature red in tooth and claw...


Sharp-shinned hawk at our feeders last spring.

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