Friday, January 02, 2015

The Scree of a Song

I keep bird feeders in the back yard since I am part of a Cornell University feeder project.  I count birds for a brief time two days a week and enter data on the Cornell site, part of what is called 'citizen science' collecting data from back yards all around the United States.  It is a simple task, and perhaps, will help in the study of migration, disease, population, etc. of those birds that frequent feeders in the U.S.  This feeding of my feathered friends also attracts birds that feed on the birds that come to the feeders.  Early one cold morning I saw the silhouette below of a resident in our woods sitting above the feeders on a broken tree stand.  Patient, regal, and all knowing in his right to be there.

I apologize for the graininess of these photos, some taken through windows and others taken in backlighting or with little natural light.  This hawk is puffed up because it was a cold morning.  A hot breakfast would do him well.

Later as the sun came up he moved to the side of the house and this was taken not only through a window but a screened window as well!  He is a red-shouldered hawk that most often feeds on moles and voles and not little birds.  His diving and turning is not as good as theirs is in flight in the tangled woods.  Perhaps he is listening for the movement of moles and mice that live beneath the feeders under a layer of spilled seed.  He and his partner live in the woods nearby and I have seen them courting in years past.

He came back the next morning and as you can see by his slim silhouette he is not as cold and neither was the morning.

I got a better shot in the late afternoon of the same day.  This is their mating season and I can hear his "scree...scree...scree" high over the trees during the day. I look up and see him sailing like a kite.  He is either flirting with his mate or just joyous because he feels so sexy.  Above he has become a little annoyed at my presence.  I am a distraction to his concentrating.

I edited the photo above with a softer, more painterly, effect to pretend that I was able to get closer.  


  1. Superb Hawk images, love them.

  2. What a beauty, Tabor. We have a couple of resident Red-Tailed Hawks in the woods behind our house. I love how close you were able to photograph him. I'm usually without my camera when I spot ours soaring above. :)

  3. Interesting that you are in the Cornell project. I quite often check the Cornell site for info.

  4. The predator birds are majestically beautiful!

  5. We have had small Sharp-shinned hawks here picking song birds off the feeders.
    Now, though, we have had to take our feeders down because our killer cat was having too easy a time picking off the ground birds under the feeders.

  6. That Red Shouldered hawk is one beautiful sexy guy. I'm hoping he was after moles and voles. That is great that you are keeping data for Cornell U. I read their newsletters and visit their site often -- they're the best! Liked your photos. --- barbara

  7. These are wonderful captures, Tabor. I'm impressed with the clarity despite windows and distance. I know how that alters an image. Beautiful!

  8. At least it'
    s not a little, black, blurry, unrecognizable speck like all the hawk pics I've taken here so far!
    Beautiful, n your painted one too!

  9. through the screened window is usually how I get my pictures of the local red shouldered hawks. they have been flying and screeing here too though I did not know why. mating. cool.

  10. That is a beautiful hawk. Wow!
    I would love to be a part of the Cornell project. I think I should look into that. I'm always bird watching and feeding anyway. :)


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