Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hawk in our back yard - awesome!

Hawk in the back yard 1/19/13
Saturday afternoon we had a pleasant surprise in our back yard. The hawk that visited us a few weeks ago returned!  He was perched on our back wall, about 20' from our bedroom patio, scanning the yard that WAS full of our regular feathered friends.  I was SOOOO ecstactic that I yelled for Mark to come see and forgot to grab my camera - which I thought was charging.

Close-up view of the pic above
So there we were, me on the floor at the arcadia door with my binoculars and Mark standing beside me.  We just kept watching him as he continued to scan the yard and look for, sadly, little mammals or unsuspecting birds - which obviously knew he arrived as they were all in hiding. 

I can't tell you how freakin' exciting this was - better than last time!  I didn't want to stop watching him, but decided to head into the other room to grab my camera real quick.  Well, he then flew into our neighbor's large tree that is right by our back wall.  This was fine because I was able to get better pics than last time.

"I see you Rocki!"
I went out back and got as close as I could...he did NOT budge!  He was rather large, around 2 foot tall is my guess.  He turned his head around and just looked at me as if to say "you know, I love squirrels too."  It was beyond amazing.  The adrenalin was shooting through me like coffee in Mark's veins!

Beautiful bird!
Then I got to thinking about the kids...our dogs.  For those who do not know, we have 3 little ones and I'm not sure if they would be too big or not for the hawk to take off with.  Yogi probably not, but Maelyn and Sasha possibly.  So, there was scary thoughts mingling with the excitement.  I would be absolutely mortified if that happened - or seeing any other animal in his talons.  But, I understand that's what he eats.  Still scary.

Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned Hawk?
I stayed out there until he flew away, then immediately grabbed my bird book.  After pouring through the book and the internet, I've concluded that he's either a Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned Hawk.  It's really hard to tell because they are so closely matched, but I believe he was a Cooper's Hawk. 
Hawk at studio window - 1/3/13
Okay, pardon these last two pics, but these were taken with my cell phone from inside my studio and through a sunscreen.  I have feeders out there and love watching the birds while I work.  Anyway, that day something caught my eye so I looked up.  There was a hawk!  I practically squealed with excitement!  Wait.  Scratch that.  I in fact DID squeal!  Our neighbors probably thought I was bleeding to death or just won the lottery.

This was an awesome site!
Honestly, I was fumbling with my phone like hot potato as I was afraid that he would be gone before I got the camera up.  It finally came on then... click click click click!  I even got a short video of him sitting there and then flying away, but it won't upload.  I was bummed that the pics came out so crappy, but at least I got a little proof of our new visitor. 

I called Mark afterwards and...okay... squealed like a little girl while telling him of what just happened.  (I didn't know my voice went up that high)  He thought it was pretty cool, but since he got to see him up close and in person this time, he was pretty excited too.  Well, he didn't squeal though.  Oh, and I'm not sure if it was the same hawk because the one in the back yard seemed much larger.

Every day we have a huge variety of birds that visit all of our feeders, so I'm always looking outside.  However, now I'm looking out there even more - like a kid on Christmas eve waiting to see Santa!  I just hope that I don't ever see him with a little one and flying off with it.

I also hope he doesn't like squirrels.



Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Gosh, I know THAT feeling. DId you ever make eye contact with a hawk? It's a powerful feeling.

We have a couple that visit regularly. I find them sitting on the bird bath, on our deck rail, on the peak of the roof. Ours is a Cooper. If my neighbors ever see me looking out the window with binoculars I'm sure they think I'm a voyeur but I am meerly scanning the stand of pines to find that flutter of wings that caught my eye when he landed.
xx, Carol

Rocki Adams said...

Yes I did! It was almost the same feeling I got when Cher, while on stage and we had floor seats, looked directly at ME as I walked right in front of her on my way to the girls room. I glowed the rest of the evening. THAT was awesome!

Ok, back to the hawk. The more I think about it, I'm pretty sure it was a Cooper's hawk. In any case, it was something I'll never forget. Isn't bird watching thrilling?!

Oh and I know what you mean about the binoculars...our neighbor's have 2 story...I can only imagine what they think - lol!


Lynn said...

I love hawks in general, it began when a sparrow hawk (they now call them Kestrals) landed on my dad's head when he was gardening in our front yard!

But since then I've had chickens (and now a beloved pigeon) as pets, and we've learned that it's the Coopers hawks that eat other large birds. We saved one of our Banty chickens from being a Cooper's lunch one day when the chicken sandwiched itself underneath a bush, with the hawk on top of the bush, just out of reach of the talons (but our Banty lost all of her tail feathers!). The hawk was fearless, it was not going to move, even though my husband was trying to shoo him away from the chicken/bush! He almost touched it before it decided to perch on the fence about 20 feet away and watch what was going to happen next.

Nowadays, I listen for hawk's calls before I let the chickens out to forage freely, and then I check on them frequently. But there's no guarantee that they are safe! My poor pigeon never gets out of the aviary because she'd be easy pickens for a Coopers hawk!

LOVED the photos!

Rocki Adams said...

Wow Lynn, thanks for sharing your story! Amazing about it landing on your dad's head!

While being extremely excited, I'm still concerned about it taking off with one of my 'kids' or other critters around the house. Hubby thinks our 'kids' are too big, I sure hope so!


Lynn said...

It turned out that the Kestral that landed on my dad's head was a trained hawk from a falconeer that had escaped somehow. My dad found another falconeer to give him to, to take care of him.