Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sundays and Mondays are my designated weekly Project FeederWatch days. There were any number of household chores I could have tackled this day, but I chose to sit near the dining room window with my knitting projects and watch birds in the backyard instead. Of course, my new camera was within arm's reach also and I was lucky enough to be ready when this little Sharp-Shinned Hawk flew into the backyard! In the absence of bluejays -- chickadees sounded their frantic "dee-dee-dee-dee" alarm call to let all the other little birdies know that this Sharpie had arrived!

She landed in the oak tree for only a few moments before she decided to take wing again. (I LOVE the continuous shooting mode on this camera!)

My disappointment in her departure was quickly replaced with joy as she flew just a short distance to a branch in the crapapple tree about 3 yards from where I was sitting!

Right below this tree hangs a small tray feeder frequented all day long by juncos and house sparrows. I love the intensity of her gaze as she scans to make sure no little birdies might be hiding somewhere down there.

Scanning the feeders across the yard for potential meals.......

Isn't this a great shot? I was wishing there would have been a sparrow down there somewhere for her!

When no little birdies showed up, she took the time for a little preening.


But always ever watchful for any prey that might unknowingly venture into the backyard.

A little preening of the back feathers always feels good too!
And still no prey in the backyard.......

Taking a little more time for preening those back feathers and then she was gone, flying out to an evergreen in the backyard where house sparrows like to hide.
Total time elapsed for this visit was about 5 minutes, but what a treat for me to see this beautiful little raptor up close! I wished her luck in her hunting endeavors and urged her to help herself to as many house sparrows as she could manage! (The other really cool thing about this Sharp-Shinned Hawk is that I can record her visit on my Project FeederWatch checklist as a backyard feeder visitor!)


12 comments:

Marianne, aka Ranger Anna said...

Awesome!! Great yard bird, much less a feeder bird. And great pics, too.

Penelope said...

A wonderful series of photos -- what a treat, indeed, to see her preening.

Gaelyn said...

How wonderful of her to pose so long. All great captures. Nice to see such a variety of poses.

Anonymous said...

Great photos Ruth I am terrible estimating size from some photos how large is this bird? Guessing I would estimate about 8 inches. What camera are you using. I have a small Nikon with sequence shooting and I love the camera other than minimal optical zoom 3x if I remember right. You are getting some really nice shots with this camera.

Birdsong said...

Wow! I am really envious of your terrific camera; now you can go back over that special visit anytime you want.

Anonymous said...

I love your new camera and the pics it takes, it is so neat. Sharp shinned hawks are so interesting to watch, if they sit still long enough, and yours did. At dinner time today we saw a Bald Eagle flying around and then it was gone.

MOM

Jayne said...

OH, how neat that she stayed there for you Ruthie! What wonderful photos you got of this efficient hunter!

Richard said...

Great series of photos.

loribird said...

Wow!!! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos!
(I, also, am loving your continuous-shoot feature!)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

How exciting Ruthie! You and your new camera captured a wonderful series of photos. I love the "preen,peek,preen,peek" shots.

Ruth said...

Great pictures with your new camera!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed these pictures! This was probably one of those "once in a lifetime" opportunities where I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, since I usually don't have the chance to sit around for this long and just watch birds. I'm glad everything came together at the right time.

Anonymous: my Hawks & owls field guide says that the Sharp-Shinned Hawk size is similar to American Robin for the males and Rock Pigeon for females. I would say this one was at least as big as a Rock Pigeon, so it was probably a female. It's always hard to gauge for sure since no other birds hang around for comparison once this hawk shows up in the backyard!