The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Another Hawk Story

So I start off the year on the blog with a hawk story.  I have blogged about hawks before both in 2007 -- here and here.  First of all -- about the second one.  We recently took a drive up to North Carolina and spotted quite a few hawks along the way.  We saw two in flight, but most were spotted sitting high in a bare tree looking for lunch or dinner.  And the dinner is what comes next.

Just before Christmas I was out with the dogs after dinner -- taking the usual early evening walk.  As we headed down to the wooded area of the yard a hawk swooped across the street and into the woods.  I could see that it had something clutched to it and I figured it was a squirrel.  I also figured it was far into the woods -- so the dogs and I continued on with the walk.  But -- Sadie saw it too and she was very intrigued about going in after the hawk.

On our way home from the walk I always take the dogs in through the edge of the woods -- they think it is fun -- kind of like they get a walk in the woods hunting for something.  As we walked through the pathway I could see the hawk on the ground to my right.  It was really getting dark by now but the movement caught my eye -- and the eyes of the dogs.  The hawk also saw us, grabbed the prey and flew off deeper into the woods.  I decided to come back there in the daylight to see if it had been a squirrel or chipmunk.

The next day I found clumps of small fine feathers and many longer feathers -- all off white to a grayish color.  I could only figure then that the hawk had a dove.  I happened to see a friend that day who is a birder and a photographer.  He told me great details about what type of hawk it was and which hawks hunt other birds and which go more for mammals.  The hawk I saw was most likely a sharp-shinned hawk because I noticed the tail feathers were straight across.  A Cooper's hawk has a rounded tail.  Both look alike and are small to fly into a heavily wooded area -- and they hunt other birds -- mostly doves.  The red-tailed hawk I saw in our yard before -- I thought it did have a squirrel.  he told me that they do indeed hunt mammals more than birds -- but a hungry hawk will do what it has to do.

For days the dogs kept wants to visit the area where the hawk first landed with its dinner.  This was not a gory scene -- just feathers scattered around.  I liked the way this small bunch looked on the old log.  This was taken late in the day.  I blocked the sun with my body so the feathers were shaded to show details and keep the highlights from being too hot.

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