Friday Favorites 7/12/2013

quail1

Summer is here.  All I have to do is look out the window when I go downstairs for breakfast to know that.  This morning there were at least two dozen quail scratching around beneath the feeders.  Every stand on the thistle feeder was occupied by a house finch or goldfinch, while others waited on nearby branches or tried to chase the incumbents away.  Scrub jays, wrens and oriolesroadrunner competed for space on the other feeders and this morning, we had a roadrunner show up to see what was going on.  The hummingbirds have rediscovered our nectar feeder and spend more time chasing each other than actually eating.  Consequently, I’m making regular runs to Petsmart for bird seed, which I’d be doing anyway because we have two cats, one of which is Elvis, a gluttonous little Burmese.   The sales people sometimes kid me as I load my cat food and birdseed onto the counter, so I tell them that I attract the birds so that I won’t have to spend as much on cat food.

The truth is, our cats are indoor cats, mostly. Why mostly?  Well every once in a while, Mr. P, our Siamese, will make a break for it though an open screen and we’ll spend some anxious hours until he returns.  We live in coyote country, you see.  Mr. P has been known to return with a trophy … there have been birds, including a quail, mice, a snake and, once, a rabbit.  Both cats are allowed roof access and amazingly, Elvis has become proficient at catching roof-birds which usually end up in my office.   We’ve tried to talk to them but what can you do, they are predators.  I do occasionally find it curious that my two favorite animals are at opposite ends of the food chain but as it turns out, that’s not exactly true.  Meet Cooper, my favorite avian back yard visitor.

cooperhawk

You can always tell when Cooper’s in the neighborhood because the regulars at my feeders keep a close eye out for his arrival and disappear the moment any large bird appears in the trees.  Cooper Hawks are known for hanging around feeders and picking off an unsuspecting seed-eater for lunch.   Sometimes, panicked birds fly into our large dining room window, knocking themselves out and becoming easy prey for Cooper.  Usually doves.  I don’t think it will hurt anyone’s feelings if I say doves aren’t the brightest birds in the yard.   I found an article on About Birding that suggested ways to protect birds from hawks, but really, aren’t hawks birds, too?  It is an amazing, if slightly disturbing, sight to see a hawk pick off a dove midair and just as with Elvis and Mr P, there’s no talking to Cooper … he’s a predator.  And he is one beautiful sight on those occasions when he decides to take a bath in our bird bath.   He’s my Friday Favorite.

birdbath hawk

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6 Comments on “Friday Favorites 7/12/2013”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Cooper is one fine looking bird.

  2. Derek Zenith Says:

    I’ve got a Sharp-shinned Hawk that eats feeder birds in my yard, and a Blue Jay that warns the other birds about the hawk. Fun times.

    P.S. how do you like Zenith Edition’s new header?


  3. Had to chuckle over your comments to the staff where you buy the bird seed and cat food. I was going to suggest to you that you best set up a private account for the birds and cats to accrue interest so that you don’t go broke buying food for them! Love the photos of Cooper too!


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