1-11-11 backyard bird count..

What would this date in history be without a count? All ones (1/11/11)….aces wild!! What a great day, too. We started out with overnight snow so we know the feeders will be active. However, I was out plowing snow until 11am this morning and missed most of the morning show.

11am and again at 245pm…19F…cloudy with 3 inches new snow…new sighting: Cooper’s Hawk

Yes, you see it correctly. It is what we believe to be a Cooper’s Hawk. Cooper’s are mid-sized hawks that look, to me, like Red-tails and Red-shouldereds. So, I can’t tell them apart. My daughter immediately ID’d it, though, and ran to the computer to verify. I thinks she’s right. I am only waiting confirmation from my photography forum, photography-on-the-net.com….or close to that. I have it bookmarked and don’t remember the exact address, but if you google that, you will find it. It’s a great site, especially if you think MY bird shots are good. Look around there and you will see what real bird shots look like.

But, anyway, today I saw a ton of blackbirds. But, they were only eating the cheap mix and under the feeders. I don’t mind them so much when they do that. If you want to divert them from the expensive mixes, I am telling you to put out a tray of the cheap stuff and they won’t bother your feeders much going forward.

There were 36 Brown-headed cowbirds, 16 Eurasian Tree Sparrows, a couple finches, 5 Cardinals, a few Juncos, a few Doves, and 6 Starlings. I checked back later to find the hawk. Well, since I plowed overnight, I was awakened from a power nap by my wife, who spotted it. Mind you, this woman has about as much interest in birds as I have in watching Steel Magnolias, but she may be coming around. It went something like this…

“Holy cow, Chip, wake up. There is a big, huge bird by the feeders. What kind is it? It sort of looks like a hawk?! Seriously, get up and get your camera. I think you will want a picture of this.”

That hawk was sitting on one of my favorite perches for the little birds. He was so close to the window. However, by the time I got the camera set up and the longer lens on, he flew off into a tree top….where I had to stalk him. I got an “ok” shot of him. But, it would have been awesome to get a couple with him on that branch.

This is the solution to the pile-of-feathers mystery and blood in the birdbath we found the other day. I know what a pile of feathers means, but didn’t actually think we’d see him unless we were watching the murder take place. Today, he just hung out for 10 minutes, but I couldn’t get a better picture than this one.

Keep Chuggin’!

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