by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"Aerial Wolves"

Sharp-shinned Hawk

        Speed: A sharp silhouette passing overhead. Instant recognition! It's a Sharp-shinned Hawk in the attack mode, slipping over the roof of my house to assault the birds feeding in my front yard! The original Stealth Fighter Plane, on his daily raid, trying to stay alive.

           Each day we fill up our bird feeders for the sure enjoyment of watching God's feathered flyers. We love the sound of wild birds, filling our world with their beauty and song. Maybe two or three times a day the feeding birds are attacked by some aerial predator. It's nature's way of getting rid of the ill or diseasedhawk birds with aerial predators picking off birds, not in their prime.

          Birds cannot have the luxury of a bad day with a migraine headache or a hangover. Bad days, when not operating at 100% efficiency, can be their last day with a Sharp-shinned Hawk in the neighborhood. We
receive telephone calls from people asking for advice about hawks attacking birds at their feeders. This is a natural process. This is nature's way of keeping bird populations healthy.

         The Sharp-shinned Hawk is breathtaking to watch in his surprise, lightening-quick attacks, using bushes and ground as cover. The Sharpie must have food each day. His continued survival means other birds must channel their lives to his life. Sharpies are the aerial wolves who prey on the grazing herds. Not herds of deer, but flocks of birds. Enjoy nature's splendor, and marvel, as Sharp-shinned Hawks, indeed a splendid bird, honed to perfection, are doing what nature intends them to do.

         Brenda Rusnell is the artist for the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Thank you Brenda for sharing your talent with us. To see live Sharp-shinned Hawks, come to the Winter Bird Festival. January 25, 26, 27. For more information, call Marilyn Davis, member of the Red Cliffs Audubon, at 435 673-0996.

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