Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A bird in town . . .

I had a pastor's fellowship about a half an hour away this morning.  Carol and I were talking on the phone while I was driving home and she told me that she had taken a picture of a very large bird out in the back yard that had been tugging at something on the ground for around 45 minutes.  She told me that she had seen it fly off and that it had a very large wingspan.

When I got home, I looked at the picture from her cell phone and assumed the bird to be a hawk.  While driving on the highway, I think that we see them often as they sit on fence posts and power line poles, but seldom if ever in town. 

I walked out to where the bird had been and saw the remains of an unfortunate squirrel.  As I was walking back to the house, it dawned on me that I was hearing a lot of birds chirping in the front yard; as I walked to the front yard, I noticed a bunch of activity in the top of one of our trees.  A crow and a dozen or so smaller birds were chattering and flying around the top of the tree.  As I walked closer, the smaller birds flew away and I could see what seemed to be the hawk in the top of the tree.  I took quite a few pictures of the bird with my cell phone (not the greatest of quality).  My assumption is that it is a hawk, though I acknowledge that ornithology has never been my greatest study and though I don't like admitting to ignorance, I would appreciate a clarification on whether this is a hawk.

We are sure it is the same bird that Carol saw earlier in the day; as the kids were playing outside this afternoon, they found the remainder of the squirrel under the tree (I was only looking up in the tree at the bird and so missed the squirrel on the ground).

Below are the best shots that I could get with my cell phone.

I must admit, that as the bird looked at me in this photo, I was ready to run.  I've seen enough youtube videos of birds chasing humans that I know that it is a potential danger.  Should that terrible hypothetical situation have become a reality, my wife would have been concerned, Gardner and Kara would have been too mentally stimulated to have begun their naps, and it is likely that my neighbors and passers by would have laughed for days!  (I know that motorists driving by were watching me take pictures.)  I'm still pretty fast for my age, but I don't think I could outrun a hawk.

Here are a couple of better pictures from the front side of the tree.

In case you think I'm scared of birds, or don't like birds, here is a video from my parent's back deck last summer.  I took several videos from only about 6 feet from their humming bird feeder.  If you watch the whole video for a minute or so, you'll see at least 5 birds at one time.  I actually counted 7, but never could get them all on camera at the same time.

 I had better sign off - tweet dreams!


  1. Hey Uncle Levi,
    I think the bird is a Red-Tailed Hawk. Like you said, the pictures are a little unclear, but from what I can see that is a red-tailed hawk. I was an avid bird-watcher for several years and have seen several. I also know because that bird on my google account picture!
    P.S. Check out the Wikipedia page and I think you'll agree the Red-tailed is similar at least: