Winter visitors

It’s always great to see all the visitors to the feeders at this time of year. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

A great way to help birds this winter is to create a brush pile. It’s a good place to keep warm and hide from predators.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

Nuthatches seem to do pretty much everything upside down.

© Chris Taylor

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Young cooper’s hawk

A very young cooper’s hawk kept the blue jays busy in our backyard this morning. Everywhere she went, they followed. When they got bored chasing her, she would come back, swoop down at them, and the chase was on again. She’s learning to hunt and the blue jays are quite tired of dealing with her. I’m constantly amazed by the drama going on right over our heads. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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On alert

I was outside scraping ice off the car this morning when I saw a cooper’s hawk fly in after the smaller birds feeding in our backyard. I watched her land and sit on some brush over where the smaller birds were hiding. I went over to where she was and she didn’t move an inch. I looked up at the hawk. She looked down at me. “You don’t even care that I’m here,” I said out loud.

She looked down at me again as if to say, “Yeah, that’s right. I’m hungry.” A red-winged blackbird flew out of the brush and the hawk dived after her. They were moving so fast, I literally had to jump out of the way as the blackbird flew directly at me with the hawk on her tail. The blackbird then flew right at the house and I was sure she was going to crash, but she pulled up fast and then flew back down around a tree. She circled the trees in the yard several times with the hawk right on her tail. She then made a swift turn and went toward my neighbor’s yard. It looked like she got away.

When the smaller birds came back out of the brush to start eating again, everyone seemed to be on high alert. Crests were up. These life and death dramas play out around us every day and I always find myself wondering how many notice. I so wished I had my camera with me when all this took place, but it’s really the moment that matters.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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Sharpie drama

I was watching a group of blue jays diving in and out of the trees picking up acorns yesterday when all of a sudden a sharp-shinned hawk plunged into the group. Fortunately for the jays, no one was lunch. Sadly for the hawk, he/she flew away hungry. I didn’t react fast enough to get pictures of the action, but did get a few of the hawk hanging out on our maple tree.  I had no idea just how many birds were hanging out where I was until the hawk showed up and it seemed like hundreds flew up out of nowhere. It’s still very cloudy here, so photography is a bit frustrating. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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The Fog

The last few days have been pretty dreary, but at least we don’t have to contend with the frigid temps for a while. I am, however, missing the nice light for pictures. Click on pictures to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

© Chris Taylor

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