Date: 9/26/17 9:40 am From: Judy & Don <9waterfall9...> Subject: Raptors at Ninestone - and a question about migrating Red-shouldered Hawks
While sitting in a grove of trees last weekend Don heard a rustling in the leaves and opened his eyes. Running straight toward him on the path was a grey squirrel and only 2 feet above the squirrel was a Cooper's Hawk giving chase. The Cooper's flared when it saw Don, flew past him, and into or through a tree, out of sight. The squirrel sped by and got away although a squirrel seems like large prey for a Cooper's.
Crow families have been yelling a lot recently at Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks hidden in trees around the yard or along the stream. The squirrel population at the feeders seems to be diminishing.
On Saturday the little birds were fussing, scolding something I was unable to see. I wondered if it was a Screech Owl so well camouflaged agains the bark that I could not find it. But later that morning and throughout the day there were two Red-shouldered Hawks screaming around just at treetop level, much lower than normal, and acting like they were doing a territorial display or mating ritual. Was it practice for adult behavior; were they a mated pair re-establishing their bond and/or nesting territory here? Or do the migrating hawks shake things up a bit with the residents as they pass through?
Sometimes we hear the Barred Owls in their territory across the creek. Earlier in the month we heard a Screech Owl whinnying outside the bedroom window for several nights in a row and last week I heard one down toward the bluff which has always been Great Horned Owl territory. Seems like a dangerous place for a little Screech Owl, but I have not heard or seen the Great Horned Owls since early summer. Usually the juvenile owls continue to make their begging "shreep" into September, but this summer there has been silence.
Then this morning a group of Crows were gathered to yell at something in the trees between the bluff and the stream. As I walked toward the noise a Great Horned Owl suddenly flushed from the trees and flew downstream. I am so relieved to know they are still here. But I wonder why they have been so very quiet.