Our local Red-Shouldered Hawk alighted on a tree near our pond Sunday as it has been doing of late. The raptor — this one or a lookalike — has regularly rocketed across our front yard, staked out our bird feeder, bagged itself a Mourning Dove, dined on a bullfrog, easily earning the Murder Bird reference.
Deadly though it may be, this bird is beautiful and interesting to watch. It stayed for a long time on the tree branch, looking around, probably hunting from its perch. I’ve shot some photos of the hawk as it perched in other spots but never got shots of it in flight — they’re just so fast! Patiently waiting helps but this time I had a good vantage point with some space and, therefore, time to react when the bird launched. Murder Bird stretched its tail, stretched each wing, scratched itself, and faced the wind.
Off it went! I was able to shoot only a few frames and most were not very clear as I pushed to catch up with the hawk’s fast-accelerating movement; one shot, the one above, was decent enough to show. Our Murder Bird is a vicious predator but absolutely gorgeous and thrilling to watch.
We’re near, rather beyond the time when I withdraw my bird feeder from use leaving the birds to fend for themselves over the warmer months.
The bird feeder has been busy. I have not been busy. So I shot a good number of photos of birds at or near the bird feeder, only a few feet from my office window.
Several larger birds have escaped me because they cannot fit inside the wire fence cylinder that protects the feeder from squirrels and deer. The bigger birds show up and quickly leave, seeking treats elsewhere; they include Bluejays and a Red Bellied Woodpecker. The woodpecker has landed on the cage occasionally and used its pointed beak and long tongue to retrieve a morsel or two but he’s usually here and gone before I can grab my camera.
I’ve never seen them. I’ve never, ever seen Bluebirds in my yard or at my feeders. Until this month.
First I saw a couple of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) show up just after I restocked my feeders for the morning. They returned the next day and then there were three. Skip forward a few days and yesterday, February 12, I counted eight — eight! — of the beauties around the feeders, in neighboring trees, and on the ground!
I don’t know why this year is different but at a time when I could use some cheering up, the Bluebirds flock to the view from my window. And they do, indeed, bring happiness.