Friday, June 27, 2014

The hawk saga

Near the middle of April, I was sitting on a swing in the park, praying.  I saw a hawk fly by and kept my eye on where she landed, hoping she'd reveal a nest.  After a few minutes, her husband appeared.  They had a brief discussion, and then the husband flew away and the wife their nest. 
It's way up near the top of the sweetgum tree (to the right of the evergreen)

 There she is on the nest. I named her Sharpie, because she's a sharp-shinned hawk.

I visited her every day, and this was usually my view.  She was incubating eggs and rarely left the nest.

Sharpie's husband Nelson (Sarah named him after singer Hawk Nelson) brought his wife dead robins to eat.

 Nelson on the hunt

 Dead robin at the base of a nearby tree.

 I was excited to find several hawk pellets.

 I brought home some pellets and dissected them. Inside were bird parts: feet, feather, bones.  The hawk eats the meat and somehow wraps up the inedible parts into a pellet, which gets puked up.

 After all my hawk talk, I got the rest of family interested in hawk-watching.

 Nelson, with a dead robin in his talons.

 One of them left a feather at the base of the tree.

 Shiloh was very interested in it.

 It's a beautiful bird.

 robin bone at the base of the hawk tree.

 hawk splat.  The base of the tree is full of it.

 Click the picture to see the beautiful wings spread out.

After the babies hatched, Sharpie's behavior changed dramatically.  Instead of hiding from me and staying at the nest, she would fly away from the nest and scream at me, trying to distract me from the babies.  If the screaming didn't work, she would dive bomb me.  The first time she dove at my head, she knocked me flat on my back.  She didn't peck me or cut me with her sharp talons, but I felt her wings brush against my head.  It was very scary.  I started wearing a bike helmet when I went to visit.  You can see her diving at me in the picture above, and in the video below, you can see her dive at me and then hear her screaming.

If you click on the picture and look closely, you can see the two babies in the nest, one on either side of the branch.

I caught Sharpie squirting out a stream of poop. 

 The dive bombing only intensified as the babies got bigger.  It is extremely scary to see this coming right at your head.

 One of the babies

 Both babies in the nest. They're getting big.

Baby looking at me.  

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