15 February 2011


Yesterday we had a very exciting bird sighting right from our dining table. I was getting lunch together for the kids when I glanced up and saw a hawk right outside our kitchen door! I ran to grab Roo and we slowly crept to where we could see out the door. The hawk was still there! It stood there for a second, looking at the holly bush next to the door while I quickly snapped the photo below, then flew off.

Hawk outside our kitchen door!

We ran outside to see if we could spot the hawk. It was sitting in a nearby tree, and flew farther away when we came out. We figured it was gone.

I went back to making sandwiches while Roo frantically signed bird over and over and over again, pointing at the door and wanting to see it again. Not two minutes later I saw a flash of brown past our kitchen window as the hawk swooped back into the holly bush it had been eyeing previously.

We dropped what we were doing and all stood near the door, waiting to see if we could catch another glimpse of this hawk. We were not disappointed. We saw rustling in the bush, heard a high pitch "cheep!" then saw the hawk hop out of the holly bush, a dark-eyed junco grasped in one foot. It looked toward the door and, spotting three mesmerized people, promptly took off with its prey.

We were stunned. It was amazing! Doodle was asking where the hawk was going and what was it going to do with the little bird. Roo was signing and saying "bird! bird! bird!" and hitting the door, trying to get me to go find him the bird again. Meanwhile I was scrambling for the bird books to try and identify this beautiful hawk we'd just seen. After consulting with an avid birder friend it's probably a Cooper's Hawk.

I took Roo outside to show him that the hawk was gone. Looking at the snow next to the holly bush we could see where the hawk had left one clear footprint and a larger indentation where the junco had been, complete with one lone junco feather stuck in the snow.

Enlarged image of the hawk from the previous photo.

We certainly were not expecting such an exciting sight while having lunch. The kids and I were all amped up the rest of the afternoon, talking about the hawk and the junco many, many times. No one seemed upset for the unfortunate junco; rather, the only tears that fell were for a hawk that failed to return despite much toddler pleading.

Last night we bought some bird seed and peanut butter to make our own little pinecone bird feeders for the yard. Maybe if we fatten up another few juncos we'll see the hawk again? (I'm kidding. Mostly.)

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