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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.

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Hey! Where did everybody go?
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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