Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Wild Kingdom Adventure Day

Yesterday was a snowy, blustery, cold and shivery day.  As we huddled inside, the birdies and neighborhood squirrels plundered the seeds with abandon.

Until it got a wee bit red in tooth and claw.

A red-tailed hawk (at least I think he was a red-tail, his feathers were more brownish than they look in this picture through the window screens and pouring snow, but it is possible he was a goshawk and I have mis-labeled) showed up, swooping in out of the blustery sky, and picked off something -- maybe a squirrel, maybe a large bird, but whatever it was weighed enough that the hawk only flew a bit out in the yard and then started tearing it apart and eating.

I just happened to be walking by the sun room when I saw the flash of giant wings swooping by the feeder, and then saw him land a few feet away.

He was an absolute beauty. 

After he finished part of his meal, he flew back up to a perch in a taller tree across the street, and watched the feeder intently for a while, then settled in and looked as though he were resting. 

We went about our business in the house, as I started making some dinner when...WHAM!  The hawk must have been swooping after another bird and gotten caught in a wind gust, because he crashed right into our glass storm door on the front of the house.

The Peanut and I went running to figure out what the giant boom had been, and there he was, a little dazed and catching his breath, sitting right on our front porch for a second while he shook off being stunned by the collision.  I wish there had been time to grab my camera, but we were so busy peeking out the front windows and trying to ascertain if he had an injury before he flew off into the woods that I didn't have time to grab it for a picture.

We could look into his sharp yellow eyes, as he watched us watching him.  Absolutely fascinating.

No idea if he'll be back to stalk the birdies on my feeders, or if this was simply an opportunity he took during a snowstorm for some desperately needed meal.  Whether we see him again or not, he provided a magnificent stretch of nature viewing yesterday for all of us.

(Photo by Christy Hardin Smith.)

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