One-Liner Wednesday – Hawk

Several weeks ago, while out with our dog in the back yard, I looked up and then texted my wife:

I think we have a hawk

Hawk
Hawk

We both brought cameras to the scene, trying to get a nice photo. We hoped to see him fly off, but he just sat there. Other birds flew in and out of the tree, and a few squirrels were running around. One squirrel seemed to try and get the hawk to move on, running up behind the bird and then jumping to a different branch.

A few days later, we saw a pile of feathers in our yard, evidence that the hawk had made a meal of a morning dove. A few days later, a neighbor said he saw it carrying off a squirrel.

We understand, nature, and all that, but we like our birds and our squirrels and now we wish the hawk would find a new neighborhood.

While walking Maddie last weekend, I noticed the hawk perched on a light fixture at the ball field in the park. At this point, with nothing but bare trees between our house and that park, I can see that light post from our front yard. I guess that means he can see our yard.

We think this is a sharp-shinned hawk. We also considered that it might be a Cooper’s Hawk, mainly because everything tells us these two are hard to tell apart. Maybe Mike or Deborah can weigh in on this one.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday.

68 thoughts on “One-Liner Wednesday – Hawk

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  1. I imagine your wife is worried about the bunnies as much as you are concerned for the birds and squirrels. We did have an owl in the neighborhood, but no hawks that I’ve seen. I think they stick to thicker woods and a better vantage point.

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    1. Yes, this is not the normal habitat for these guys, but there’s been recent construction, and that always forces animals out to search for new homes. I think, eventually, he’ll move to the woods a little farther away. My wife is concerned about the bunnies, and she really likes the Morning Doves, which don’t seem to be hanging around here as much, lately.

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      1. We have a continuing major road construction project (lots and lots of cranes) that has taken away a small plot of woods where the deer and the hawks used to play. Thankfully, there are woods close by, but it was always cool to see the hawks flying around there. Progress isn’t always kind…

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  2. I’ve lived in yards with a copper hawk – they are stealthy! And, unfortunately, if you are their target, deadly accurate. Which, for the cycle of life, is a good evolutionary trait, I suppose.

    I can’t help with the ID – as far as I know, I haven’t encountered a sharp-shin. But, if they are hard to tell apart, how would I know, eh? Either way, nice captures.

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  3. I have had a coupla hawks in my neighborhood. I was fond of how consistently one rested on the basketball hoop. I posted pictures on social media and then for nearly a week, people argued about what kind of hawk! I don’t post that sorta ‘inflammatory material’ anymore, lol!
    I agree with how we love nature, we understand how it works, but we don’t necessarily want this to be right outside affecting our prettier versions.

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  4. I had no idea that a hawk would go for bigger game like a squirrel. We tend to forget that nature has a brutal side. It will be interesting to see if he stays a while – or moves right in. My guess is no, he won’t.

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  5. He’s a damn clever fella, sitting there while his prey gets used to his being there, gets used to being safe getting close to him. And the squirrel having the temerity to taunt him…. There’s an Oscar-winning Pixar film in there, somewhere.

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  6. Not a fan of hawks myself, as you can well imagine. More often than I’d like, I can hear one screeching that god-awful sound they make, run outside, and see it circling overhead. I’ve screamed, yelled, thrown things, and chased them away from the house to try and protect the squirrels and the birds. I understand how nature works too, but I don’t need to see it in action, you know?

    Shrikes are also nasty things. A number of years ago, I had to watch one attack and carry off one of my chickadees, right outside my studio window. It was the middle of winter and absolutely traumatizing to see it happen. It was so fast — by the time I realized what was happening and got the window open, I only made it halfway out, screaming at the top of my lungs before it finally bit that poor chickadee’s neck hard enough to kill him, and then carried him away. I cried for a week. So yeah, zero love for predatory birds here!

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    1. My wife was just reading an article that talked about the problems being caused by the rebound of the Bald Eagle population. These are certainly magnificent birds, and they remain totally protected here, but their increasing numbers are causing problems for some farmers. I am so glad I didn’t witness the attack. A few days later, a large group of birds and squirrels in our front yard were making a huge racket. I saw the hawk in a nearby tree, but he stayed there and the locals scattered. I’m so sorry that you had to see that.

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  7. I’m probably in the minority here, but I’d find this an exciting sighting anywhere, anytime! :)

    We’ve had a Cooper’s Hawk on my street a few times over the years. I always wonder how they ended up down in the burbs when the mountains and food is go good up in the mountains which are not too far from me. I’ve only had the right lens on my camera once to get a decent photo of it while in the trees on my street. It was right across the street from my house and bonus it was facing my way!

    Identifying your Hawk is tricky without a really good look at the tail, but I’m leaning toward Sharp-shinned b/c the tail does look squarish at the corners in one of the images. Also the head doesn’t project too far out either in any of these images. My favorite is the one with a clear view of its eye in your neighbors tree. Hopefully, a better birder than I can nail down the ID soon. I always struggle identifying these two hawks!

    I hope he finds the woods near your place and doesn’t get a bunny!

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    1. We were excited to see him in the tree, and we both have photos in today’s group. I read that they prefer the woods, and I hope this guy finds his way to a couple of wooded areas around us. I hope he finds them before the bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks have their next batch of kids. You zeroed in on the features we used to form our conclusion. They seem very hard to tell apart, but I’m comfortable that we’re close. They are small, but as soon as I saw it on the lamp post, I knew what it was.

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  8. One man’s cute animal is another animals dinner. :-) I love hawks and winter is the best time to see them, as the foliage that often hides them is gone. When we lived in Cleveland, we had a bird feeder for a long time. One morning, we saw a hawk perched not far away on a wire. For some strange reason, we didn’t have any birds interested in feeding there until s/he had flown off quite some time later.

    janet

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  9. We’ve had hawks chase birds into our windows before – sad, but part of nature. I’ll be writing and one of them will glide across the window and cast a shadow over my keyboard. I hope he’s not thinking I might be tasty!

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  10. We have several hawks in the area, including one that lives in one of the trees in the next yard. One morning I came downstairs and Mary said “Look out the window.” Seated on the rail of our deck was a big hawk; it was raining and I guess it grounded him. Mary said there was another, smaller one with him. Or her; not really sure. I wasn’t about to get close to it. We figured out later it was a chicken hawk, which reminded me of Henery the chicken hawk from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoon. “I’m a chicken hawk! And you’re a chicken!” I love watching the hawks in the air, way up, just sailing as they search for prey, and yes, we’ve seen them attack and carry off squirrels. We think it’s cruel, but they have to eat, and they’re not doing it because they hate the squirrels, they do it because it’s lunchtime. There are plenty of squirrels around, many of which end up as road kill, at which point the turkey buzzards on Sweat Mountain take over.

    I’ve really gotten into birds since living here. Hawks, buzzards, crows (my personal favorite), cardinals, blue jays, thrashers, mourning doves… we have lots of birds here, and they’re fun to watch.

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    1. I was glad to be able to see it, John. It’s an amazing bird. I understand lunchtime and all, but I don’t like cleaning up the diner. I don’t blame you for not getting close.

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  11. We have a red tail hawk here and so far he sticks to field mice which is OK by me. But have you ever seen how cute mice are? I’m just such a mush when it comes to these beautiful creatures. Great shots of the hawk, Dan. 💖

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      1. Oh I absolutely agree. I had a Queen cat who used to be outside who hunted chipmunks and I used to get so angry with her. Nothing I said stopped her. Since she is now indoors the chipmunks have um multiplied. LOL

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    1. I think in the spring, the hawk will return to some nearby woods, or perhaps continue its migration. Neighborhoods like our aren’t prefer habitats for these guys. I know, a bird has to eat, I just don’t want to be the bus boy.

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  12. Maybe the guy just wanted to show the doves and the squirrels who’s boss. The birds of prey are very powerful and majestic, graceful and lethal. I watched a documentary on Harpy Eagles. I love those birds. But they terrorize the Capuchin monkeys. Of all animals, I think the hawks and the eagles got the best deal. Top of the food chain and then flying the highest–although that hasn’t stopped the relentless humans from almost wiping them out.

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    1. They are majestic creatures, Peter. Not far from us is an area where Bald Eagles nest. I’ve never been able to get a good picture of them, but I’ve seen them flying, very high above the Connecticut River. In this country, we have done a good job of bringing the eagle back from the edge of extinction. Now, however, they are becoming a nuisance in many rural areas. It’s a balancing act, which is now tipper in their favor.

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  13. Hawks are majestic birds to watch. But. Beware of their ferocious appetite. They can snatch any smaller creature in the blink of an eye. I read about the eagles above. In Maine they have become a real nuisance for farmers and people who raise chickens for example. So this always a matter of balance, I suppose. Not enough: we are in trouble. Too many: we are too.
    Birds of pray offer terrific photo opportunities. As long as they leave our pets alone.

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    1. I hope to one day get close enough to the eagles who nest along the Windsor Locks Canal to get a nice photo. I don’t want our pets to be anyone’s dinner, though. This particular hawk looks like she/he’s pretty well fed. I don’t think it will be hanging around here for long, I read that they prefer a wooded habitat.

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      1. True, hawks favor woodsy neighborhoods. Eagles are splendid but they usually perch so high it’s hard to shoot their portrait, unless you’ve got a great camera. I’ve tried several times in California without much success but I’ve seen people wait for the perfect shot with great equipment and get a perfect photo. Good luck eagle hunting:)

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  14. Dan, I think your two types of hawks choices are either one or the other. I like squirrels, chipmunks and little birds so I hope this hawk can take off and leave your neighborhood behind. There are times when the bigger creature is who I will defend but the little ones are who this time I side with! ;) I tried to post one which was plump and ironically sitting on a neighboring yard of my friend, Jenny’s. This one finally took off but I could not get a very clear shot of it. In the yard it looked like a fat owl or a quail without its headdress or plumage. The photos are awesome in this set and the “leftovers” in the other post.

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    1. Thanks Robin. We haven’t seen much of this guy in the past week or so. They prefer being in more densely wooded areas, so I hope it has moved on. Right now, we have baby squirrels, baby chipmunks and bunnies running around in our tiny little yard. We don’t need a predator.

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