Before I forget

February 12, 2012

Yesterday our local female Sharp-shinned Hawk was sitting out in the backyard noshing on something (presumably a pigeon).  I watched her haggle bits off a long bone and saw some other bits nearby.  When I went out to check later, however, all I could find was a scattering of down and pinfeathers.  Very odd.  The other interesting thing was that she is definitely a huge Sharpshin; as big as (maybe bigger than) the American Crows.  Very burly, very Cooper’s Hawk-looking, but definitely the classic squared-off tail.  I guess she eats well around here…  Sometimes I wonder if Accipiters hybridize at all.  I also still think it would be interesting to check the genetics of the local American and Fish Crows to see how much (if any) hybridizing took place in the aftermath of the West Nile decimation, but nobody I’ve talked to seems interested in it.

That reminds me, I really ought to put down the yard list, so here it is.  It’s not as bad as I thought a city yard would be, and considering that I don’t have any feeders up, it’s a bit surprising:

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Eastern Screech-owl

Common Nighthawk (flyover only)

Chimney Swift (flyover only)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (visiting the Weigelia and ignoring the infestations of Trumpet Creeper!)

Northern Flicker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Blue Jay

American Crow

Fish Crow

White-breasted Nuthatch

House Wren

Carolina Wren (N)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Swainson’s Thrush (by song)


American Robin (N)

Gray Catbird (N)

Northern Mockingbird (N)

Cedar Waxwing

European Starling

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

American Redstart

Northern Cardinal (N)

Rufous-sided Towhee

Song Sparrow (N)

Chipping Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

White-throated Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

Baltimore Oriole

House Sparrow (N)

American Goldfinch

House Finch

Count = 40, with 7 confirmed nesters.  I really ought to put up feeders and nest boxes; I might lure in a few more…