Warning for the sensitive-at-stomach: this post includes images of Nature, red of tooth and claw. Well, one image and it’s more like beak and talon. But you get the picture.
We’ve discussed the sorts of birds that show up in the backyard before. And, as we’ve seen, we do get the occasional visitor who doesn’t fall into the core categories of “Jays, Doves, and Little Twitter Birds”.
For instance, there’s this one, who’s often seen above and around the neighborhood.
We’ve never seen her* at the feeder; but she does sometimes get her dinner from the yard. Hang on, let me adjust the colors and zoom in a bit.
She’s much better about ridding the yard of gophers than MM and Tuxie. The meezer prefers Little Twitter Birds, and her sidekick is more interested in krunchiez.
* As usual, I’m guessing about gender identity and pronoun preference.
But the other day we got some impressive first-time visitors to the feeder.
There were actually two of them. Quite handsome and surprisingly well-behaved. Perhaps they figured if they were impolite, I’d pick up the seeds?
Even though they hung around for almost an hour, Sachiko was the only member of the security squad to notice them. She alternated between banging on the window, demanding to be allowed to attack, and–when they looked up at her–fleeing in terror.
Frankly, I think the latter reaction is by far the more sensible. They only outweigh her about four to one, and those beaks and talons are much longer than her teeth and claws.
I’m guessing, from the profile, you’ve got a Redtail Hawk there. Like many other raptors, they’ve adapted well to urban life. We’ve got a pair that used to live (although we haven’t seen them for a few years) in a big tree, just a block away. That characteristic “screech” (so beloved by film makers) could be heard, often. My theory is that they’ve been chased away by the crows, who have, over about the same period, become common in the neighborhood. Climate change? Who knows, but there’s certainly been a change in fauna.
I suspect you’re right in your identification. Though the ones in our neighborhood don’t screech all that often. We hear them occasionally, but not as often as we see them.
Have you noticed, by the way, that they like to hang out on street lights and traffic cameras? There’s one near San Pablo Dam Road and I-80 that often takes a seat on one of the poles by the roadside. A great perch to watch for small mammals in the grass just off the shoulder.