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Sunday, November 13, 2011

A quiet weekend for FeederWatching

I've just been outside doing some observations for my first weekend of FeederWatching, but, honestly, there is not a lot to watch.  The songbirds are mostly lying low because there is a Cooper's Hawk lurking about.  The Blue Jays are on the alert, frequently calling out warnings as the hawk moves around the yard. It must be very frustrating to be a hawk just trying to have dinner in peace with those noisy jays constantly on your tail.

I did have one notable observation, but it wasn't at the feeder.  It was another hawk.  I heard the distinctive cry of the Red-tailed Hawk overhead and looked up to see this magnificent creature just hanging over my yard.  He was being buffeted by the wind and was essentially hovering right above my head - well, a few hundred feet above my head.  But he was low enough and he stayed there long enough for me to get a very good look.

He was one of that subspecies of Red-tails called Krider's Red-tail.  These beautiful hawks are marked by extremely pale underparts with virtually none of the dark streaks that mark other Red-tails. Moreover, the tail and the head are whitish.  The tail does have the eponymous reddish cast which all these hawks carry, but even that is paler than many of the other subspecies.

He was truly a gorgeous bird. He was turning his head back and forth obviously looking for something that he could have for lunch, but he was out of luck with my yard since everything was in hiding because of the Cooper's Hawk.  I watched him with my binoculars for as long as he stayed in sight.  For much of that time, I could even see his fierce eye as he searched the ground below.

After several minutes, he did move on beyond my sight.  I hope he found something tasty there.

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