Friday, December 2, 2011

Raptor Musings

Two nights ago, while letting Mr. T out for one final pee before we turned in for the night, I heard a not-so-distant hooting.  It was a great-horned owl, with a not-so-great voice.  A juvenile practicing, perhaps?  It was out across the field behind the house and sounded like it was in The Tree on the far side.  I listened for a while, hooted back a couple times (just to see if I'd get a reaction) and then heard a second GHO calling from the woods to the west.  When I talked to our bird expert at work the next day, he asked if one of the birds had a higher-pitched voice than the other.  If so, he said, that one would be a female and this might be a pair of birds that might "hook up."  If not, then they might just be a couple males setting up territories.  I hadn't listened well enough to note an difference in the voices, so I went out again last night, hoping they might be calling again.  No such luck - but I will keep trying.

This morning, I had to be at one of the local schools early for a special "Forum" they were holding, with something like 20 speakers on hand to do presentations for the students.  As I walked around the building trying to find the correct door, a small hawk flew overhead:  sharp-shinned or Cooper's.  All I caught a glimpse of was the belly and wings and an edge-view of the tail as it sped away.  Not enough for me to make a definitive ID. 

After the school program I stopped back home to let the dog out, since I will be late getting home tonight, and after doing my duty as a responsible pet-owner, I headed in to work to do my duty as a responsible employee.  Just as I was leaving the driveway, I saw a bird struggling up to the utility pole across the street.  Something was "wrong" with its shape.  When it landed, the tail bobbed up and down - it was a kestrel, and it didn't perch for very long.  As it took off, I saw what had made its shape so odd:  it had a mouse clutched in one foot! 

About fifteen minutes later, another hawk flew across the road in front of my car!  I'm fairly sure this one was a Cooper's, just because of its size.  Again, I didn't see enough of it to tell for sure; it's hard to see the shape of the head and such when a) one is driving and should be watching the road, b) the bird is flying rapidly away from one, and c) the sun is in one's eyes.

But it's been an amazing couple of days for raptors:  owls, hawks and a falcon!  Gee - that's almost a grand slam in my book.

1 comment:

  1. Lucky you! Those magnificent birds are always a joy to behold.