Sunday, November 23, 2008

Exploding Trees

While checking the seed in the feeders this afternoon (I'm about to travel for the holiday -- hopefully to see new birds!), I was walking along the side of the garage when our neighbor's apple tree exploded. Or at least, one branch exploded in a noisy burst of leaves and action.

Sharp shinned hawks are small birds of prey, and don't make very big explosions.

Our juvenile hawk was lurking in the tree, waiting for his moment to dine. He was literally on the tail of either a house finch or house sparrow -- at the speeds they were flying it was impossible to tell -- and they veered between the houses, reappearing a second or two later in the opposite direction. Across our yard and just barely above trees across the property line they flew, the smaller bird darting and obviously terrified, but the hawk keeping up with precise determination. He dove, but missed, and the smaller bird flew rapidly away frantically chirping a warning while the hawk caught a small updraft and glided more leisurely in the opposite direction, ostensibly to find his next meal elsewhere.

In these few seconds of wild kingdom action, it was fascinating to observe the hawk's beautiful and acrobatic flight. Though he was unsuccessful in this attempt, his skills are obviously advancing from what they were earlier in the season. Our dear Spook is growing up.

Just one week left to vote in November's poll: How many species are on your life list?


Erin Alberty said...

Spook! I love it. :-)


See today's Utah discovery at

Melissa said...

That's our darling! He either spooks the other birds or himself, but one way or another someone goes away startled.