Tag Archive | hawks

Guilty Pleasures

This post comes with a warning! Some of the images may be considered rather gruesome but then ….. it’s nature and if you take photographs of nature you have to expect something not very pleasant occasionally.  I’d like to be able to say that I didn’t enjoy capturing these images but the awful truth is, I kind of did.  Somewhat.  Let me explain.

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If you feed the birds on a regular basis you will know that it does tend to attract larger predators and I always feel a bit guilty that I’m setting the table, so to speak, for a possible kill.  The hawk makes so many passes over our garden during the course of the year and for the most part comes up empty, but on this occasion it managed to catch a sparrow. He played around with it for a bit, pulling out a few feathers and then dropped it into a nearby flower pot.  He seemed to lose interest in things and went to sit in the lilac bush.

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I was horrified to see that the sparrow was still alive and making a feeble attempt to escape.  I debated whether to go out there and scare the hawk away but I figured the sparrow was so badly injured by this time that I really wouldn’t be doing it any favors so I left well alone and hoped that the hawk would at least return and put an end to its misery.  It did.

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With a certain sense of macabre irony, the hawk decided to carry its meal over to the little table on the patio and proceeded to chow down.  And I captured every gory moment with the camera.  In mitigation I can only say that these days I rarely, if ever, brave the freezing winter weather to go out and get nature shots, instead relying on nature to come to our garden in the suburbs, and opportunities like this don’t come very often so I have to make the most of them when they do.  Of course I was sorry for the sparrow but hawks have to eat too, and it is such a handsome bird.

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When he’d finished his meal, the hawk ruffled his feathers, gave one final shriek and took off, leaving the sparrow’s head like some grotesque tip for the server (me, apparently.) Thanks!

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FEEDING THE BIRDS

We’ve always enjoyed putting out food for the birds and waiting to see what shows up.  There have been all kinds of visitors including the usual cardinals, blue jays, grackles, redwings, finches and sparrows as well as some more unusual sights such as an escaped parakeet.   However, ‘feeding the birds’ has taken on a rather more sinister connotation over the last couple of years.

Invariably, whenever there’s a flurry of feathered friends in the garden, it attracts another winged visitor and this one is not interested in birdseed or bread crusts.  It’s the hawk and he’ll eat whatever he can catch.

He/ she (I’m not sure which) is a beautiful creature and I must confess to a certain morbid fascination when it swoops in for the kill but on the other hand I feel guilty about unintentionally setting the other birds up like an avian smorgasbord.

I had hoped that placing the bird feeders close to the house might have discouraged him, figuring he needed more room to maneuver but it doesn’t seem to bother him and, in fact, he makes himself quite comfortable on the patio furniture while waiting for some unsuspecting creature, be it bird, mouse or squirrel, to come into range.