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.
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.
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].
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.