Happy Valentine’s Day!

15 Feb

So, this morning Chuck and I got up early to hit the road so we could travel home and help my sister with her kids for the weekend (pictures at Sears!  Fun! I now know a photo shoot with a 1yr old, 2yr old, and 11yr old ranks somewhere between frustrating and frustrating to the millionth power – good thing these kids take some adorable pictures).  As I was walking out to put our bags in the car, I realized there was a visitor who had parked in our driveway…parked right on top of my car, actually…

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I walked a little closer, expecting him to fly away…but he held fast where he was, keeping his blazing red eye on me.  Speculating why he was not fleeing, I approached the car and realized the roof was littered with feathers.  Seems like this guy was enjoying breakfast.  On my car. Naturally, I dropped our bags (quietly) and ran inside (swiftly) to grab my camera bag (all the while holding back the urge to squeal and clap my hands like a 3-year-old).

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Now, I’ve heard tell of folks enjoying chicken and waffles for breakfast…but seriously, this is taking the fowl-themed morning course a bit too far…

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Mmmmm…Yummy!

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I must have caught him on the tail-end of his feast, because once he gulped down that last leggy morsel, he flew off to a nearby tree, checked out the neighborhood for a moment…

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then, up and away, leaving nothing but sticky feathers in the aftermath…

aftermath

I’m no ornithologist, but I did a little research online and I’m pretty confident our morning visitor was a Cooper’s Hawk.    According to Cornell University, the Cooper’s Hawk is a medium-sized hawk of the forest, whose specialty is eating birds. It is built for fast flight through the obstacle course of trees and limbs.  *(this next bit not for the feint of heart…) A Cooper’s Hawk captures a bird with its feet and will squeeze it repeatedly to kill it. It does not bite the prey to kill it in the fashion of falcons, but holds it away from its body until it dies. It has been known to drown its prey, holding a bird under water until it stops moving.

Declines of the Cooper’s Hawk in the late 1940s and 1950s were blamed on DDT and pesticide contamination. Populations started increasing in the late 1960s, but it is still listed as threatened or of special concern in a number of states. The Cooper’s Hawk appears to be adapting to breeding in urban areas, which may help increase populations. Project FeederWatch data indicate stable or increasing numbers over the last 15 years.

Click here to hear the call of the Cooper’s Hawk.

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Yay!  So this morning I found a little piece of nature in suburbia…Awesome way to start V-Day!   Hope you had a similarly romantic moment in your day! 😉

(Post Script: I advise kissing your valentine as opposed to eating him/her on the roof of a stranger’s car…)

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One Response to “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  1. Moma February 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Reminds me of many years ago (20?) when we were headed out for one of your piano recitals and a bird had left us a present on the family car. Of such magnitude that it required a quick drive through an auto car wash on the way to remove the present. All the while you bemoaning the fact you were going to be late to awe the Radford community with your beautiful musical talents. Sorry, I didn’t capture that picture for future memory.

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