Thursday, August 18, 2011

Predators and Prey

Not a lot of changes since my last "Free Bird" photo.  I did finish up the alphabet and the 2nd Navy Peacock; and I've started a couple of stars...

If you've ever questioned the necessity of Father Quail's vigilance...don't!

He looks to his right...

and to his left...

and downward...every ready to send an Alarm!

Yesterday morning, no Quail anywhere...because of this guy (gal?)...

...perched on the woodpile by the Big Birdfeeder.

It's a Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)...I think...though it could be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk - they are very similar. These birds capture prey from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation, relying almost totally on surprise. One study showed that this is a quite dangerous hunting style. More than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons were investigated and 23% revealed healed fractures in the bones of the chest. 


Most prey are mid-sized birds, with typical prey including American Robins, jays, woodpeckers, European Starlings, quail, and doves. They also eat small mammals like chipmunks, hares, mice, squirrels, and bats. Other possibilities are lizards, frogs, snakes and large insects. They are increasingly seen hunting smaller songbirds in backyards with feeders. They will perch in trees overlooking the feeders, then swoop down and scatter the other birds in order to capture one in flight. These hawks can also pursue their prey on the ground by half running and half flying. (Source: Wikipedia)

6 comments:

Ann at Beadlework. said...

I love the father quail sitting on sentry duty, it shows such love. I know the hawks have to eat too but it always seems so cruel. We have sparrowhawks coming to hunt the little birds in our garden and it always upsets me. I once saw a large bird of prey catch a starling in our back garden and the resulting noise and image has stuck with me, it was horrible.

Siobhan said...

Every stitch is one stitch closer to a finish!

The last time we were in the US, I was driving through a wooded area when a hawk swooped down, grabbed a squirrel or mouse off of the road, and flew right back up into the air--all in front of the car, with seconds to spare from being hit. I couldn't believe it.

Deb said...

I love your Free Bird and like Siobhan said, every stitch is one stitch closer.

We have a lot of hawks around here and one day I was sitting on the front porch watching a bird that was making all kinds of noise on my neighbor's roof. Next thing I knew, the hawk had swooped down on it and took off with it and landed on another neighbors roof. I don't want to tell you what happened after. But it wasn't pretty to watch!

Gabi said...

"Free Bird" is looking gorgeous.
Love also your bird pictures. I love all birds, although I try to forget that some are hunting the others.

Mindi said...

Free Bird is looking great, every time I see you post a pic of your progress, I move it further up my wish list. Thank you so much for telling me how you made your picture collage for the blog header. I sort of came up with one, I'll have to keep working with it, and learn how to set the sizes a bit better.

Melanie said...

I never get over watching hawks do their thing. We were lucky enough to have a young pair of hawks nest in one of the trees near our deck this summer. It was so interesting watching them come and go. As far as I know they were successful at it so I hope they come back next year.