Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Positively Neighborly

by Mauverneen

We have finally had some sunshine and warmer weather this past week so I’ve been celebrating by having my morning coffee outside with some new neighbors - a pair of hawks that are building a nest in one of the trees behind the house.  Of course, I’m the one having the coffee while they do all the nest building.  I am not sure what kind of hawks these are – I’m guessing they’re Cooper’s Hawks.

Early morning watch - who's watching who?
Back and forth, back and forth they fly.  One of them – the male - does most of the flying, collecting twigs and whatever for the nest building while the other one mostly sits and keeps watch.  He will also provide most of the food for his mate and hatchlings for about 3 months.  Those male hawks are well trained.
Flying through the trees
 
When I first spotted them I thought maybe they had their eye on the neighbor’s chickens but a little online research tells me they go after small birds.  While I’m not sure these particular hawks would consider a chicken a ‘small’ bird, I don’t completely dismiss the location for the nest as entirely coincidental – after all, it is pretty convenient to the carryout.  I do notice a little less activity at the bird feeder when they are around but I’ve never seen the hawks anywhere near it.

Proudly gathering nesting materials
 
And as much as I chase those darn squirrels away from the bird feeders all the time – “Run you furry little devil!” - when I see the hawks circling I yell “Run little squirrel.  Run!”  I know what goes on out there in nature.  I understand it and accept it.  I just don’t really want to see it.

What? No suet today?
 
A couple of mornings I’ve seen a coyote come by, no doubt also interested in a nice warm chicken dinner.  He saunters along the edge of the tree line and then quietly blends into the woods.

A good job of blending in...
 I see deer once in a while too, although I don’t know where they have been keeping themselves lately.  They are much more frequent visitors during the summer.  I’m hoping when things start greening up and growing again that they will get back to their old habits - nibbling on the fruit trees and the neighbor’s grape vines.  I have a feeling they’re also ‘nesting’ and before long I hope I’ll see a couple of little spotted fawns joining their mothers for a morning frolic.

Is the coffee ready?

I’m so glad Spring is back.  I just love visiting with my ‘neighbors’!


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