[Tweeters] Sharp-shinned Hawk at Roy (Avian Acres) gets no respect

Denis DeSilvis avnacrs4birds at outlook.com
Thu Sep 21 19:53:37 PDT 2017


I was eating an early dinner, glancing out back at the group of 8-10 Steller's Jays gathering black oil sunflower seeds from the ground (they've been doing this for a couple of weeks), when a quick flash of another bird chasing a jay caught my eye. The jay continued on to the ground to poke in some seeds, but the chasing bird flared up and into a Douglas-fir. I kept watching, and -- what turned out to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk -- chased another jay. Then another. And another... . Each time a chased jay would fly off, but the other jays merely kept on gathering seeds. Several times, a chased jay would land on the lawn, and the sharpie landed nearby. I watched this activity for nearly a half-hour (meanwhile, dinner getting cold!). Once, when a rabbit hopped through, the hawk chased IT.

At first, I thought the Sharp-shinned Hawk was an immature, not knowing what it was getting into. The only jays that were "bothered" were those individuals being chased. The others just kept about their business, not even flying up when the hawk chased a jay past them. NO respect! I did get several scope views, and it was definitely an adult bird (red eye, maroonish chest markings, blue-gray back).

After all this back-and-forth across the yard, suddenly everything scattered: the jays, the sharpie, and even the rabbit: Big Momma flew in. This is one of the largest Cooper's Hawks I've seen on our property -- an immature bird (I'm assuming a female) that's been picking off lots of different birds here since early August. It didn't get any of the jays or the sharpie (or even the rather smallish rabbit), but made a quick circle of the feeders and headed out to feeding stations out front, where I lost track of it.

Definitely better than watching TV during dinner!

May all your birds be identified,

Denis DeSilvis

avnacrs4birds at outlook.com

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