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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Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

I took this photograph two days ago of a male northern cardinal escaping from the deck feeding station with a big wad of suet dough. Since it's red and swirly and weird, I thought of you.

So here is a valentine for all of my bird-obsessed/bird-centric friends out there.
Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope your heart is full.

Love,

Bill of the Birds

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