Friday, December 30, 2011

Cooper's Hawk

It's not every day you see a Cooper's Hawk at your bird feeder. (This is my first sighting/identification of the Cooper's.)

While watching for photo-ops of various birds at my bird feeder this morning, I saw movement low in a lilac bush where its branches were dense. As I watched, this Cooper's hopped out onto the ground less than 7 yards from me - just long enough for me to get this shot. Unfortunately, I had to get it at an angle through a chain link fence.

Thinking about it, it's the perfect setup. A lilac bush isn't the deciduous forestry areas it normally prefers, but this Cooper's Hawk knew that the lilac bush was the staging area for sparrows - it being next to my feeder. The Cooper's main diet is birds - and they will chase them relentlessly through the woods. What better "diner" than an active bird feeder?  It was apparently trying to take advantage of that setup.

The Cooper's Hawk is not a stranger to the panhandle. We are in its breeding and year round range, as is most of North America.

Cooper's Hawk

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blue Jays

For a long time, I've been trying to get shots of blue jays, cardinals, etc. in our back yard. My wife had a new feeder waiting for me under the Christmas tree this year - one that she found on Made of cedar, it had a much better perch than my previous one had - one that I hoped would allow larger birds than mainly sparrows and house finches to feed.

I set it up yesterday while our white Christmas was still in the making. There was no activity at the feeder until this morning. I watched and waited.  At first only sparrows and finches showed up. After a little while my patience was rewarded, and jays finally made an appearance.  They easily helped themselves to their favorites in the mix I had waiting for them.

 The male first came in to test the waters.

 His mate followed shortly thereafter.

I will anxiously be awaiting more opportunities. I'll have to increase the sunflower seed content of the mix.