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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers.  All are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.
Gooseville, WI
February 7, 2013

My bird feeders are always busy with comings and goings. Except, when they're not.

Hey! Where did everybody go?
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus

smallest North American Hawk

She swept in low, bursting out of the nearby spruce tree in a sudden blur of motion. The feeding station exploded in panic with a screech of small voices and the whir of wings scattering in all directions.


At first, I thought the local Cooper's Hawk had popped by for another ambush. The little rascal does that every week or so, hoping to drive a victim into the glass windows, unconscious, ready for the pucking. Not so, again, this time. A strike and a miss.

Instead, she perched, surveying the feeder. Her dark red, adult eyes and long square tail, tipped with a narrow fringe of white was helpful in identification. Orange-rusty bars of breast feathers ruffled in the wind as she puffed-up against the cold making her look larger than she was. Cooper's have more rounded tail feathers.

Female Sharp-shinned Hawks are about one-third larger and heavier than the males. This one was almost as large as a Cooper's Hawk, yet, her feet, legs and head were more delicate and refined.

Now that she's in the neighborhood, I'm reminded that 90 percent of her diet is small songbirds.


I didn't have time to set a good photograph, only a quick click, click, click. Sorry. She left as suddenly as she had arrived at the bird feeder, still hungry. I wish her well and good hunting in the harshness of this winter.


What's happening in you neighborhood? Got snow? Got daffodils? Your turn to drop a note in the bucket. Everyone is welcome here.

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching and Badger State Progressive.

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