A few mornings ago, I walked into the backyard to put something away; suddenly a hawk flew from the grass, right in front of me, up into a tree branch. The spot where he had been on the lawn was covered with the feathers of a grackle. The feathers were fresh. I left momentarily to get my camera and returned to take a few photos of the hawk in the tree before it decided to fly away. I didn’t realize until I downloaded the pictures (and could look at them closely) how fresh those grackle feathers really were — the grackle’s body was being firmly held underneath the hawk. I had interrupted the hawk’s breakfast. The grackles had only returned to our backyard in the past week or so after being absent all winter. The hawk must have been thrilled with their recent return!
This very young robin was hanging out on the railing at a local park the other day. Linking to Friday’s Fences at Life According to Jan and Jer.
American Kestrel perched in a tree
Today, I had the opportunity to see a bird that’s considered out of the ordinary for my state. Although common elsewhere, the American Kestrel is considered a Species of Special Concern in New Jersey
, most likely due to shrinking areas of grassland needed for its habitat.
The kestrel that I saw flew fairly close to where I was walking. It landed in a tree and then moved to a few different branches before perching on a nearby wire. Moments later, it was in the air. It hovered in place while beating its wings, before suddenly diving down. It’s amazing how it can stay in one spot, despite the wind. The kestrel put on quite a display searching for food before I lost track of it. I couldn’t tell if it succeeded in catching anything or not.
Guide books describe the American Kestrel as a raptor of the falcon family, similar in size to a mourning dove or a jay. They are very attractive-looking; the colored patterns on the underside of the kestrel reminded me of a common flicker.
An American Kestrel in central New Jersey was certainly an out of the ordinary sight for me.
This backyard hawk caused a downy woodpecker to make some stealthy moves
The woodpecker flattened itself against the tree branch
What a trick! Hiding behind the branch out of the hawk’s sight
Every once in a while a hawk visits our backyard; today it came twice and caused one of our backyard birds to resort to a stealthy move for its survival.
The first raptor visit was early this morning when I was in the kitchen. Through the window, I saw the hawk perch low in the walnut tree next to our bird feeders. I wanted to take a photo through the sliding glass door, but the hawk flew off just as I returned from down the hall with my camera. Later this afternoon, I was outside in the backyard, with my camera, when the hawk returned a second time.
Normally, when a hawk is nearby, the backyard birds flee into the hidden areas of the bushes or pine trees and there is silence. All chirping ceases. This afternoon, the hawk appeared so suddenly it seemed to take the birds by surprise. They weren’t able to resort to their normal safety routines.
The female cardinal didn’t flee and hide. Instead, it stayed completely frozen in place on a tree branch, not moving whatsoever. The tufted titmouse was a little bit braver. It made a short, sudden warning call and then immediately dropped into the pine branches out of sight. The mourning doves stayed still in the same position they had been sitting in previously. The downy woodpecker, however, was the stealthy one. First, he froze on the tree branch. He didn’t move his head to the right or to the left, but you could tell he was aware of the danger. Then, he pressed his body down as close as possible to the branch. His final move was to swiftly rotate around to the underside of the tree branch to get out of the hawk’s direct line of sight. The woodpecker stayed completely still in that position, keeping the branch between himself and the hawk, until the hawk finally flew away. Once the danger was gone, the woodpecker moved back around to the top of the branch and started to eat some suet. The other birds also resumed their activities like nothing had happened.
Posted in Insects and Animals
Tagged backyard birds, backyard wildlife, bird, bird hides from hawk, bird watching, birding, downy woodpecker, hawk, nature, New Jersey, New Jersey suburbs, New Jersey wildlife, photo, wildlife in suburbs
I suppose it’s the February cold, but I’ve been seeing so many hawks this past week. On my way to work the other morning I spotted at least five and I don’t have a very far commute. Usually they are perched high and away, but these hawks were perched low, prominently positioned much closer to human activity. The winter search for food must be getting more intense.
This goldfinch is all tucked in and ready for a little nap in the sunshine after his Thanksgiving meal in our backyard. Hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving.
Our backyard fence became a posing spot for birds this afternoon. The robin and the mourning dove both positioned themselves on top of the fence as if they were modeling their feathery haute couture.
Enjoy more fence photos on “Friday Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer.
Posted in Insects and Animals
Tagged backyard wildlife, bird, bird on fence, dove, fence, Friday Fences, mourning dove, nature, New Jersey, photo, robin
We have a Northern Mockingbird who frequents the wire outside our house near the willow tree. This bird is very noisy, especially in the morning, but it doesn’t make me angry. Its repertoire of trills, tweets and chirps always makes me laugh; what an incredible range of sounds from one bird. Mockingbirds are appropriately named. If you didn’t know any better you’d think you had a half-dozen different types of birds in your backyard. This mockingbird can even imitate a bluejay (listen at :019 in the video).
Posted in Insects and Animals, Uncategorized
Tagged bird, bird sounds like bluejay, bird watching, mockingbird, mockingbird imitates bluejay, nature, New Jersey suburbs, New Jersey wildlife, noisy bird, northern mockingbird, singing mockingbird, wildlife
This fence (in honor of “Friday Fences” at Life According to Jan and Jer) was near the beginning of a nature trail at a local park. I thought it looked like a relaxing spot; the robin thought so too.