Sure, the office is in a beautiful setting. Almost peaceful with its trees and wildflowers. Within the canopy, however, different life-and-death dramas play out every day. Here, a red-tailed hawk, harangued by bluejays and mockingbirds, seeks a moment’s respite in a tree with a squirrel he’d caught for lunch.
The rest did not last long. The smaller birds screamed and even bashed him a time or two and he took off for another hiding spot. Alas, that last flight cost him. As he landed, his squirrel slipped from his talons and crashed through the branches.
A a second hawk, who followed the action and withstood an assault by other small birds, cashed in on the lost lunch.
One of several red-tailed hawks that make the green belt along Coleman Creek in Little Rock’s University District their home. This fellow was probably looking for lunch.
It’s so good to see our campus hawk cruising the thermals during a lunchtime photo safari.
A very noisy hawk spent part of this morning soaring both on and through the mountain updrafts looking for a meal. She owned the sky.
It’s not uncommon for the thrum of traffic along South University Avenue in Little Rock to pierced by the shriek of a hawk. Folks who work at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and the adjacent extension service offices have observed a female hawk nesting in the same place for at least five years. Her landings near high office windows or railings are a delight to watch. It’s also a relief to her fans that despite the rise of new campus buildings and the demise of some of the higher pines, she continues to make the university her home.
Below, some hawk shots taken during morning strolls around campus.
The Big Buck Classic in Little Rock draws scores of thousands of people during its three-day run. This year’s event at the State Fairgrounds rambled through three or four buildings, including filling the floor at Barton Coliseum. Arkansas 4-H and Raptor Rehab of Central Arkansas brought some reptilian and avian stars that kept small tight clumps of people forming around their handlers.
In keeping with our lazy naturalist philosophy, we couldn’t ever really be called serious bird watchers. We don’t keep a log, but do have the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America handy, to see just who it is flitting about in the trees. (And a friend of our Minnesota uncle and aunt who is a serious authority on birds.)
Today, we discovered how little we really know about ornithology as we struggled to figure out some of these birds. Below are terrible pictures taken today. (one of these days will have to take out the “real” cameras with the real fast glass to shoot.)
Seen yesterday or today, but not captured in pixels: Eastern bluebird, tufted titmouse, Carolina wren, Eastern towhee, a Carolina or black-capped chickadee, dark-eyed junco and a big red-tailed hawk.
What was captured was a cardinal, and we think, a western wood peewee, downy woodpecker, an eastern phoebe, a hermit thrush and a lone female bufflehead.
The snow has hit and is falling fast. Friend and colleague Donna took this shot of a hawk sheltering against the snow just outside her window. Just amazing!
With a snow storm on the way, the local bird population seemed more active and visible than usual. Dozens of dark eyed Juncos came speed-grazing through the yard, from east to west, almost as if they were stocking up. Meanwhile, eastern bluebirds, wrens and crows were flitting through the bare winter branches.
Another winter birds scene, 1,700 miles west — this purple finch was enjoying a pomegranate on a cloudy December day in San Diego.
A red-tailed hawk enjoys the updrafts from the Ouachita valley below.