Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sharp shinned hawk

Okay, I have to admit it. I have been bitten by the birding bug badly lately. (say that fast three times!) For some reason I just can't get enough bird watching in. A lot of my free time has been spent perusing bird watcher blogs, websites and chats about bird sitings in my area. When I locate something interesting off I go with camera, binos, sketch pad and bird id books to find my current prey. I'm afraid I could be becoming obsessed! But what fun!!

Today I didn't even have to leave the house to find something interesting. First thing this morning this sharp shinned hawk came in looking for it's breakfast. Like the cooper's hawk which it resembles it was intently watching the rose bush and the tomato vines for signs of movement from hiding birds. It was very determined to get a meal and as I watched it first dove into the rose bush to snatch whomever it could. When it came up empty it flew to the tomato vines. I was in awe when I saw it fly down, grab the vines in it's talons and beat and shake the vines with it's wings until the terrified sparrows popped out. Then the chase was on! I saw all this, but missed the actual capture of it's prey. Both sparrow and hawk had flown out of my line of sight and I had assumed it had missed it's meal, but when I went out later I found the telltale pile of feathers that told the rest of the story. I was actually bummed about missing that part, gruesome as that may seem. I get to watch the song birds feeding all the time at my feeders or in my yard in the summer, but rarely do I get to see the birds of prey doing the same thing. Seems a bit unfair.

I guess now I have to start making some time to turn all these observations and photos into art. I have been doing some sketches with ideas, but seem content lately to just leave it at that. The time will come though when the story needs to be told in paint. Of course, when that happens, you'll see it here.