When I stepped out this morning to scatter seed under the hedgerow, I found the answer to a question I had had the night before.
Yesterday I wrote about the changes in light during the day, and included some photos I took of birds at out feeder, photos taken as the afternoon light waned.
I didn’t mention that my photo session had been cut short when a hawk – either the resident Cooper’s Hawks (one adult, one juvenile) or a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a less common winter visitor – flashed through the feeder area, grabbing a bird on the way through. This all happened about six feet from my face (on the other side of the kitchen window) and in the space of about three seconds. I was unable to see what sort of hawk it was, or what sort of bird it had taken.
I checked all the windows, looking for the hawk and its kill, but couldn’t see anything, and I decided not to go out to look for it so as not to disturb it and possibly make it abandon its meal. Temperatures were dropping into single digits (and below), and that hawk’s life probably depended on having a last feed before it went to roost.
When I stepped out this morning to scatter seed under the hedgerow, I found the answer to one question: What sort of bird had the hawk taken? A Mourning Dove:
What sort of hawk? Impossible to distinguish here between Sharpie and Cooper’s. But there’s a good chance that the hawk will be back; they tend to hang around where the hunting is good.