Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hawk Haven

Over the past 20 years our landscape has greatly matured: trees and shrubbery we have planted have provided an abundance of cover and a wonderful habitat for wildlife in our garden.

All kinds of birds frequent throughout the years: Dark-eyed junco, Nuthatch, Robin, Varied thrush, Mountain quail, Cedar waxwing, California quail, Sparrow_White-crowned and Golden-crowned; American goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, Grosbeaks_ Evening and Black-headed; House finch, Wild Turkey, Woodpeckers_ Pileated, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker; Lazuli bunting, Black-capped chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Hummingbirds_ Rufous, Anna's, and Allen's; Mourning dove; Peregrine falcon, Osprey, an Eagle; Hawks_ Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Sharp-shinned_ adult and juvenile, and the Cooper's Hawk.

Yesterday, as I sat at my desk working on the computer, a dark shadow swiftly passed the window_ less than 6 feet off the ground. I knew it was not likely a turkey vulture_ having never observed them flying that low. I quickly stood up and looked in the direction of flight; it had landed within the heavy foliage of the Magnolia stellata in the center of the garden. Could I manage a photo if I quietly tiptoed outside?

outside my studio window
But as soon as I stealthily traveled across the patio and into the path, it flew upwards to the top of the dead Madrone_ a Cooper’s Hawk. He/she_ it sat there with a watchful eye as I took the photos. Beautiful bird and with amazing eyes! Interesting that the hummingbirds were attracted to it.

This morning (again while at my computer) I was startled by a thud at my window. There he lay on the ground, upright, in a resting position, but not moving. And as I looked around the garden and glanced upward, there was the Cooper’s Hawk again surveying the landscape from atop the Madrone. Breakfast? I couldn’t let it happen.

Immediately I went outside, and yes, eyes open and in a resting position, the Mourning Dove was still alive and attempting to recover. As I stood there, the hawk flew off in the same direction as yesterday so I came back inside.

Persistent_ it flew back to the Madrone, then down into the dogwood before it took off again.

My husband came in a short time afterwards to say the hawk had flown right past him and into the south garden_ on a mission_ surveilling the landscape.


taken from inside the house
in the Dogwood

It must be eating well as lately we haven’t seen the rabbits, squirrels or the chipmunk.