Country Living

5 04 2009

Once in awhile living away from the hustle and bustle, and not having easy access to adventruous foods and ingredients, comes with a bonus.  This time it was the blessing of watching a hawk protect “his” space, which just happens to include my space too.

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We’ve always known we have wild animals in the area…Rocky Raccoon has raided our chicken eggs more than once…Bob Cat has also visited a few times…durn him.  We’ve also seen opossum here, and chased them out of our critters’ food.  We have a variety of bird life as well….we hear the mournful coo of the Mourning Dove, see the zippy little hummingbirds as they pass through, watch the little house wrens grow from hatchlings to full grown, and then there are the raptors.  The big, majestic raptors.  Where we are, we can see the occasional eagle, osprey, and a variety of hawks.  For the past 5 years or so, we’ve had a breeding pair of Red Shouldered Hawks in our trees.  We went back and forth whether we had red-shouldered, or red-tailed hawks…both are prevalent here.  Between the cry, the coloration and the habits, we’ve determined we have red shouldered hawks.  Here’s a great video clip:  Red Shouldered Hawk Solo .  That’s what I hear every day, at one time or another.

Hearing more than one cry, usually means something is up…something is threatening the hawks, or they’re excited about something.  We have a heard of chickens and a pair of ducks, plus a flock of cats…I became worried for their safety and went out to see what was up.  Of course, you get outside and all is calm…no sound other than the ducks communing.  That about figures.

Minutes later, I spotted a hawk – quite large – in the top of the old willow on the stream bank.  I could hear its cry piercing the afternoon.  Seconds later, the bird took flight and swooped down into the backyard…wait…no…here’s the bird I was watching..Oh my gosh…there are 2 of them!!  No!!  There are 3!!  And I can still hear another cry, as I watch the feathered air-show being performed right in front of me!  With wingspan of more than 3 feet, these are pretty intimidating creatures when they’re coming right at you!  And fast!  I quickly realized I was watching the male defending his territory, and likely listening to his mate in the tree.  The pair hung around long enough to make sure they’d defended their ground and then flew north-east toward the mountain.

One interesting observance…while there was a different pair of hawks in the area, the chickens and ducks took shelter.  Or maybe it was that there were hawks out, diving into the middle of the duck pond area, that they all took shelter and only came out when they saw me.  Hmmm…  We have lots of cover for the chickens and ducks, but they’re also somewhat exposed due to it being winter-spring, when the foliage isn’t out to protect them.  Another reason we don’t let babies out too early!

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I have to admit…that was quite an amazing way to end the afternoon!

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2 responses

5 04 2009
Nancy (n.o.e.)

We live in the Atlanta city limits, and we have a hawk in our trees. I’ve seen him on the deck railing! I love being near wildlife, and it sounds like you have quite an assortment.
Nancy

5 04 2009
Natashya

Beautiful photos! I love the wildness of nature, even though we are in the suburbs, we get lots of birds, squirrels, and racoons. I especially love the sound of the mourning doves.

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