Monday, August 14, 2006

Of mice and men (, hawks)

I had such an exciting bird day, I don't know where to begin.
I was refilling the hummingbird feeder and as I came back in the door, I looked over my shoulder and saw this on the fence:

Yep, that's a red-tailed hawk, and a female, judging by the size. Our fence is about 5 feet tall, and she was easily half of that.

Nice pose with my cosmos, huh?

This big, beautiful creature stayed in the yard for 2 hours this morning and another hour in the afternoon. I saw her catch two mice and watched her go through many foiled attempts. She stayed out by the "prairie experiment", a haven for mice and snakes, and she's a smart bird to do so. It was like fast food for a raptor. May I say it again that it's good to have some "untidiness" in your yard?!

I guess the visitor who left a hawk feather last night after accepting our offer was this girl.

Ahh...a breakfast of fresh mouse. I jumped up and down when I saw that she had caught something. I didn't get a shot of her eating the second mouse. But I was just as happy about it.
She landed on the ground to possibly grab a snake, by the way she was stepping and jumping. But no dice.

Non-hawk photo: I hid in our crabtree to try and get a few shots of birds visiting the feeders. I pishing my butt off but the only one brave enough was this juvenile house finch.

Peep: a word coined by David, the previous director of education at RAPTOR. Birds don't "pee and poop" the way mammals do. They have one orifice for all waste products and for reproduction. Hence, they make "peep".
Who'd have thought that one day, I, Susan Williams, would be thrilled to have her fence whitewashed by a raptor?


LauraHinNJ said...

Oh very cool!

So did you do anything besides cheer her on from the window during the hours she was there? I can't ever pull myself away when there's a good bird around (the heck with getting to work on time)!

Do you have more electrified mice for tonight's offering?

Glad you're doing them off quickly - don't ever use those awful sticky traps!

Susan Gets Native said...

I folded laundry, cooked lunch for the girls, did the dishes...all while watching the hawk like a hawk!
I don't have any other mice yet to offer. I wonder if the other mice can smell the odor of fried rodent in the trap?
I hated the thought of using the sticky traps. It doesn't kill the mouse, just makes them drag it around and suffer. Have you ever had to trap mice?

Shannon said...

Sorry Susan I cannot say that I have every had to trap mice. I have great mouse traps here at the Indiana homestead. Would you like to borrow one? Maybe Tigger?

Susan Gets Native said...

Tigger never seems AWAKE enough to catch a mouse!

Lynne said...

OOOOH- you are one lucky duck! My jaw dropped just looking at your photos. What an awesome bird!

NatureWoman said...

Cool cool cool!!!! How exciting for you! She obviously loved your mouse offering the other night - didn't have to work for that one!

Egret's Nest said...

Totally cool. I love that you had a Redtailed just hanging in your yard thinking she might not even have to work for her dinner.

Jim said...

Since the head-to-tail length is slightly less than the top of the post to just above the second rail ----- run out and measure so we'll all know the actual size of big bird.

No, I am not trying to get an estimate for taxidermy.

Randa said...

VERY cool hawk photos! Your enthusiasm is infectious. Regarding 'untidyness' in the yard -- we have found over the past couple of years that our resident bird population and variety has increased greatly since we let the perimeter of our yard get 'bushier'. It is a delight to have so many birds about.