Saturday, February 12, 2011

Large Gray Bird, Squirrels, Little Birds

I was reading in the bedroom when a large, gray bird flew onto the bedroom patio table. I reached for my camera very slowly, but they have such keen eyesight that even the slightest movement will set them in motion. The bird hopped from the bedroom patio to the table outside our picture window--it was that large that it literally hopped to the table. It most definitely was not a sparrow hawk. In fact, I don't think it is even in the hawk family. I suspect it is a falcon. It was gone before I could get a picture, but it has a large, tall, gray body. What I should have looked at was its beak, but all I could think about at the moment was getting the picture, which didn't happen.

I noticed something a few days earlier when I was in our bedroom bathroom. I stepped out of the shower in time to see a flash move through the backyard. I threw on my robe and ran to ask my husband--who was on the opposite side of the garage working on his truck--if he had seen a large animal, such as a deer, run through the forest. He didn't see a thing, but I knew it wasn't a deer. A deer never would have come so close to the house while my husband was outside with the dogs. The little birds, on the other hand, will not hesitate to hop back and forth from the forest trees to the picnic table while the dogs are outside and if a falcon was waiting in the trees, it might have taken advantage of this opportunity to grab a quick snack.

Last year, we had a few large birds visit our backyard. One was a sparrow hawk. It stayed nearly two weeks until I placed a fake owl on the back fence. The other was a much larger, faster, bolder bird, and I suspect it might have been the same bird I saw on my bedroom patio. The bird flew into the grapevines where the flock of baby birds that were born in the garage like to sit during the day. I heard frantic sounds from the grapevine all the way in the kitchen and ran out to investigate. That's when I spotted the bird in the vines. I tried to take its picture, but it flew into a nearby tree--just a few feet away! This bird was not shy of me at all! I was able to take a few shots, but the identifying features were blocked by twigs and leaves and when I managed to climb over the fence and position myself to take a better photograph, the bird flew away. I felt certain from its size and the shape of its beak that it was a falcon.

The squirrels have been rather quiet the past few weeks. I rarely see them,though I know they're out there because they've been eating the sunflower seeds and corn. If there is a large predator bird in the forest near our home, this would also make the squirrels much more cautious. However, it is also baby season and it's possible they are staying closer to their nests to watch over their young.

I was walking the dogs a few minutes ago and as I entered the backyard I heard a loud chirping, like a warning chirp, as if someone was angry that I had disturbed their snack time on the picnic table. I steadied my camera and waited near the sound for the bird to appear, and when it finally did, I was truly shocked! The bird was about the size of my finger, and making a might noise! In nature, size does not necessarily determine the fierceness of a creature!

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