We have hawks in our backyard! Well, not in our backyard, but hanging around the general area. I first noticed them earlier this Spring and deduced that they have a nest in the gigantic sweet gum tree across the side street from our garage. I'd hear them chattering and calling and sometimes see a parent bird coming and going. Two or three times one of the parents perched on the power pole by our garage while I was working in the garden - never when I had my camera, naturally. Every now and then I'd see a hawk fly by high overhead while I was out in the garden or yard. On Memorial Day I saw two of them bickering as they flew across, then a week or so later I saw one still obviously a little shaky on its wings taking a practice flight while a bunch of smaller birds followed along, bitching loudly. I didn't see any sign for a bit, then I saw one swoop over the yard with some kind of small prey in its talons, then nothing.
I realized I'd probably missed my chance to catch a photo and started to think that they'd moved on from the neighborhood. But sometime last week our next door neighbor asked if I'd seen the hawks around, "eating the little birds for breakfast," which renewed my hope that they hadn't left just yet. Which brings us to last night, when I looked up from dinner and saw a familiar silhouette perched on the power pole. I grabbed my camera and went outside and there were four hawks on the power lines above our yard! I think one was the mother and the rest were her nearly-grown chicks…they were all about the same size, but the suspected-mother flew off and then called back and forth with the remaining three from a nearby tree for quite a while. I got the best shots I could (which admittedly are pretty terrible…my camera is not built for NatGeo style zooming) and went back inside to finish eating. Happily, one hawk came back later while I was out doing very unfair things to our really annoying overgrown magnolia bush and Nico was out playing, so I got to show him the hawk.
"See that bird up there, buddy? That's a hawk!"
"It's a hawk! Hawk say whooo whooo whooo."
"Actually, hawks say Eeeee! Eeeee! Eeeee!
"EEEEEE! EEEEEE! Hawk say EEEEEE!"
After staring at them and comparing hawk calls on All About Birds, I think they're red-shouldered hawks. I'm kind of ridiculously geeked out about them. I'm not much of a birdwatcher, but birds of prey are just cool.
Not the best quality (sorry), but here's a short clip of them calling:
And for fun, Nico "helping" me water the garden the other night:
Reading: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Playing: Nico's mix