Circle of life.

So I get home a bit early today from work and go to let the unusually excited murderous felines out and I notice the following sitting on the stoop:

Now Los Alamos is strangely devoid of hawks. There are a few here and there, but given the population of squirrels, gophers, lizards and fat doves and the remote location, you would think there would be hawks everywhere. I am not sure if it is the altitude, the harsh winters, the cerro grande fire, the huge raven population or all the airborne plutonium, but there are not nearly the number of hawks you might expect. I see more coyotes than hawks. So this is pretty exciting for me. I have been seeing more this year than previously, but still I have only seen three hawks TOTAL in 2007 with this one making 4.

This of course happened right outside the big picture window where the cat tree sits, so they were practically drooling. It appears that the dove hit the window either before or as the hawk made its attack as there was a pretty big bird mark on the window. The dove is no big loss as its murmuring in the early AM drives elena up the wall.

The hawk looks like a young feller. I have no idea where my bird books are, but anyone know what this young killer is? I will name him Billy the Kid. I hope he cleans out the rest of the doves living in the tree next door.

Check some video action here:

click for movie

After I took the movie, I snuck around the house for better pics, but he spooked and conveniently carried off his kill into the next yard. The dove was about half his size. It was very very cool.


Omar said...

Banded tail= Cooper's hawk or Sharp-shinned hawk. Following my Audubon guide, The tail seems more 'narrow and squared off' then 'rounded' to me, which would make it a Sharp-shinned hawk. Both munch on birds.

scott clark said...

As for hawks being there unexpectedly, migration is on and anything can happen.

Not sure if it was a sharp-shinned; was it closer to 10" (sharp-shinned) or 15" (Cooper's)?

And that's adult plumage for accipiters (hawks that hunt in forests by using that long tail as a rudder--bird singletrackers).

Tarik Saleh said...

Thanks Scott and Bro,

I am going with sharp shinned, as it was closer to 10".

I am sad to report that it has not killed off all the doves yet, but happy to say that I think I spotted it a block down the street last night. Of course it could have been one of the ubiquitous ravens...

Mauricio Babilonia said...

There's a page for everything. Looks like it's about the same size as the bird it's eating, so I concur that it's a sharp-shinned hawk.

Back in January, I saw a Cooper's here in town chowing on a songbird. It was as big, or bigger than a crow and had a distinctly blue coloration. Here in 'Sconsin, some folks call Cooper's hawks blue darters.

Anonymous said...

We've got a local sharpie, has fed in our yard twice in the past year.

For suburbia, the forest siingletrack works well for cruising between houses.

Our feeder brings feeder birds for the sharpie. I wish it fed more often on the moron house sparrows and rock doves. The many redtails nearby need more room for their attacks than our back yard can provide.

Nice shooting.
I'm amazed at the ability of a glass window to provide a blind for observation.