Hawks and Doves

A red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, stopped by the house last weekend. A juvenile I believe. We see hawks now and then, they’re not all that rare in these parts… but one tends to see them out in open country and not so much near human habitats. This particular hawk wasn’t the least bit shy – sticking around long enough for me to catch a few pictures.

Mourning doves, Zenaida macroura, are much more common around us, it’s not uncommon to see one or more pairs at any given time. And due to their more frequent appearance I’ve not felt a need to photograph them. So I have to apologize for there being no mourning dove photos here. Yes, I could just go onto the web and pluck someone else’s dove photo. But how would that look? I’ll just have to disappoint those dove lovers out there who will mourn the absence of a picture of their favorite feathered friend.

Red Tail Hawk - 3 (2)

There were little birdies here a minute ago.

But back to our hawk. This visit came right after dawn, a time when the bird feeder there in the background is usually quite busy. No visitors there at the moment. Hmmm, coincidence? We also tend to have lots of gray squirrels rustling about this time in the morning too. But with a hawk scanning the horizon you can bet the little fur balls are all holed up… wait – there on the rail, and it looks to me as though they’re eyeing each other. I’d never seen a hawk kill a squirrel before. I still haven’t. Their staredown lasted for a good minute or two. The squirrel never twitched. Perhaps the hawk got bored.

Hawk with Squirrel (2)

The moment of truth.  It was chilly, the hawk may just be fluffing for warmth.  But maybe not. 

There is a little ground squirrel, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus, living beneath the deck. He (or she) didn’t make an appearance during the hawk visit. I don’t have a picture of it either, but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has an excellent picture of one at:

http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index/mammals/thirteen-lined-ground-squirrel     [looks exactly like our little copy].

Red Tail Hawk - 2 (2)

Enough of this. 

Other wildlife here in the neighborhood? Well, there’s a pair of ducks that haunts the drainage ditch. They successfully hatched a handful of ducklings in the spring of ’17. Can’t imagine that ended well – what with cats, racoons, and coyotes roaming the area. I heard an owl the other morning while out walking the dog. Still haven’t seen an owl here in Ohio. Hear them on a few occasions, so I know they’re out there. Canada geese like to frequent the little pond down the road. Other mammals include rabbits, groundhogs, and white-tailed deer. The deer was quite a surprise. It had crossed through our yard and into the neighbor’s where it stopped to have a close inspection of her garden. Our dog noticed it and started barking her head off. The deer turned toward us, then serenely turned and slinked off to the edge of the ditch. No hurries. Once gone our dog stopped barking, her mission accomplished.

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4 comments

  1. Clem,
    Beautiful pictures, really quite remarkable to have them so close. Thanks for sharing. On another note, my travel plans changed and Jeffersonville will not be on the schedule of exciting destinations before the end of the year. So, let me wish you and all of yours a Merry Christmas. Hope to see you in the New Year.
    Cheers,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Close and seemingly ignorant of me on the other side of the glass (or didn’t care). I know squirrels can seed me through the glass – they’ll stop and “freeze” if I come to the door. Funniest thing I’ve seen out there on the deck was a squirrel frozen looking back at me when a smallish bird (wren?) landed a foot or two away and then scooted over toward the squirrel cautiously – checking him out. Nature can be hilarious.

      Sorry to hear of the change in plans. Hope the whole Jeffersonville economy doesn’t wind up in the dumpster because of one bookstore.

      Holiday greetings back at ya. Say hi to Cindy, and to other kin if you (or they) make the trip.

      Like

  2. Did not meant to give the impression Jeff, was not doing well. Actually, they are doing very well this year. Rural Ohioans read, apparently.

    Same wishes for you and your family.

    Like

  3. That’s a great shot of squirrel and hawk. Though they may both be common the interaction is a great thing to capture.

    Liked by 1 person

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