His behavior also indicates inexperience. Twice in the past two weeks he has arrived with great fanfare at our backyard feeders, but neither time has he been successful in securing a meal. The first time he landed near the hopper feeder and waited there for a minute or two, stretching his wings and looking about as if wondering where the buffet had disappeared to. The second time, just this past weekend, I went to our patio doors to look out at the yard and he was perched on the platform feeder we keep just a few inches from the house. He stayed there for a period, eyeing me with caution but not concern.Unfortunately, I have no superb pictures by which to determine a clear identification. I am wondering if indeed this is the same bird -- I believe so, but the first to visit may have been larger. CapeCodAlan believes he may be a sharp shinned hawk, and any fellow birders who have leads as to his identity are welcome to chime in; I'd love to know for certain who is preying in the backyard.
Which brings up the question of welcome. To some backyard birders, these birds of prey are most unwelcome -- our neighbors would prefer to chase him away when he frightens the smaller species. To me, however, it is a rare treat and privilege to have this unusual visitor grace my yard. And if, in doing so, smaller birds fall victim to his dives, then that too is a type of backyard birdfeeding. Perhaps not what I'd intended when refilling the seed feeders, but it is all part of the migration of life I'm happy to be a part of.