ARTISTS AND  BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Don't Miss What's Happening in Your Yard"

Sharp-shinned Hawk

sharp-shinned hawk        If your Honey ever says . . . "I want you to come with me to water the garden". . . you better go! Partners always seem to have a million other things that need to be taken care of first . . . like me . . . and I didnít go, and I missed out on what was happening in my yard.

        We have huge trees, open space and lots of bird life surrounding our home. It was at the end of a hot windy day when Honey made his way to the garden and to the water faucet where our cement block wall meets the chain-link fence. What? Honey saw several Eurasian-collared Doves on the ground in the direction he was going. When he reached for the water valve, one of the Doves flew in front of his face, just inches away. Then, in the blink of an eye, a Sharp-shinned Hawk materialized pursuing that Dove. Both birds were twisting and turning in the air and flashed over the chain-link fence. The Hawk hit the Dove a glancing blow during his erratic escape pattern, but the impact of the Hawk didnít even slow the Dove. When the birds reached the south side of our yard the Hawk grabbed the Dove in midair and made for the top railing of our neighborís fence, desperately trying to hold onto his catch. That was when I got the frantic call from Honey to "Come quick, and see whatís happening." I grabbed my binoculars and by the time we were in position, the Dove had slipped from the Hawkís hold and fell into a large Texas Ranger bush. The immature Sharp-shinned Hawk just stood on the fence looking all around as though wondering what happened to his dinner, and what did he do wrong. I donít know if a bird can smile or frown with a beak, but I think this one was a pretty sad bird. He was tired, the prize was gone and he had no dinner. The lesson he learned . . . 'Never mess with a healthy mature bird'. The good news . . . being an immature Hawk, he would improve his tactics with time.

        Artist Brenda Rusnell has painted the Sharp-shinned Hawk with color pencils. If you have questions about birds, the upcoming Red Cliffs Audubon Social / Hunting and Copper Bullets in Utah, or about the future Field Trips call 435 673-0996 or go to our website at redcliffsaudubon.org .

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