I was sooo dismayed about this hawk hunting my songbirds at my feeders. Felt like such a traitor - like I wasn't looking after my birdies properly or well enough. Even had nightmares last night about it.
He managed to nail two that I know of for sure. These pics are from the first kill. The second one was right in on the table under my porch roof - and he sat there and was de-feathering it when I saw him and dashed out there. Then he flew off with it. No pics of that one.
These pics are taken inside my wood shed and where the landlord keeps his herbicide sprayer. That's what the tank and the gauge are.
When I first saw him, he was sitting up on the gate the landlord had there and I was about 12 feet away from him, waving my arms and telling him to get lost. But he just sat there and looked at me. Because the sunlight was behind him, I could mostly just see his silhouette and didn't realize he had a bird already, but couldn't figure out why he wouldn't leave. Then I saw the bird, which I think was a female house finch. Then he picked up that little bird and brought it INTO the shed and much closer to me - only about 8-10 feet away from me.
Like an idiot, I was snapping pics like mad and forgot to compensate for the sunlight behind him while he was still on the gate. This first pic was shot with the natural light that just happened to hit him the right way, and was the only one that turned out while he was on the gate ... the finch is still alive in this pic ...
The rest of the pics are taken when he moved inside the shed out of the sunlight behind him and I finally figured out to turn the flash on. What a dummy I am, eh??? They are rather self-explanatory and if you look closely, you can even see the feathers flying before he decided it was chow time. After he de-feathered it, he picked it up and took off with it, so these are all I managed to get ... but I am please with how they turned out. All I have done with these is resize and a touch of sharpening. No crops or colour adjustments at all....
Soooo ... because of my less than perfect night's sleep, I went online this morning to see if I could find some way to discourage him or to protect the little birds better. Not a lot of help there, mostly they say this is Ma Nature at her finest - and the survival of the best of the species. They said 85% of all raptors don't survive the first year and that they miss far more prey than they actually get. (Two in one day was MORE than enough for me!) The websites say the ones they catch are usually older or sick - or just not paying attention.
So, I guess I will just have to accept that this is how it is supposed to be - or else take down my feeders and let the little birds fend for themselves for a month or so. By then, supposedly, the hawk will have found a new hunting ground and moved off, and I can put the feeders back up. They say the little birds will come back.
What to do ... what to do ......
I am guessing this is the Cooper's Hawk that was here before ... but it may be a Sharp-shinned Hawk. If anyone knows for absolutely positive which one it is, please let me know. I used http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/accipiterIDtable.htm
to try to decide, but it looks like a little of each. Thanks.