Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Birds of Spring

One afternoon, a few days ago, there was a heavy thunderstorm. Small bits of grape-sized hail pelted the wooden deck behind our house. I walked into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.
Juvenile Cooper's Hawk
"Freeze", said my husband, standing at the sink. "Go round to the other window, and you will see what I am seeing here. It's huge!"
I peered into the other window, and there was a huge hawk sitting on the little gate we had that led to steps from the deck. It sat unmoving in the heavy rain pelting down, didn't seem to be in any kind of hurry to be flying off.
I ran to get my phone and managed to get a few photos and video of it, before it decided the gate's swaying in the wind annoyed it and swooped off.
Looking up the markings in my Sibley field guide, it appeared to most closely match with the picture of the Juvenile Cooper's Hawk, which is considered an uncommon bird in these parts.  I was delighted to have this close encounter with the avian visitor, who, no doubt, had been hanging around in hopes of preying on smaller birds that like to visit our bird feeder, before it got caught in the thunderstorm.

Great Horned Owl (Wikicommons)
On this morning's walk, there were no stars to watch in a clouded sky, nor earthworms to watch out for on dry roads. Signs of the dawn chorus have started though, relatively early in the year, with the warmer temperatures and blossoming trees. Today I heard an owl close to my home. "Hoo Hoo-hoo Hoo, Hoo!", it called insistently again and again.  A little while later, a counterpoint arose, a lighter owl voice calling out "Hoo Hoo-hoo, Hoo, Hoo!"
Another owl, what a surprise!

I stopped for a moment to record the call, and heard a third owl chip in to this duet. I wonder what they were talking about.

Take a listen to owls and other birds of spring by clicking on the link below.

Birdsong and Owls Spring 2020

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