Saturday, December 19, 2009

The early bird might get the bird.

No birds visible in the yard can mean only one thing. A hawk is nearby. My vision through the foggy,morning kitchen window was none too clear. It was barely light enough to see that my pigeons, out in the loft, were hiding in their boxes as well.

In the almost thirty years I have lived in this house there have been many such morning visions. Sometimes it has been great-horned owls, trapped in the coop after going in after a homer in the dark. Once inside they seem to forget why they went in, or they make a quick, head eating kill and settle in amongst the survivors for the rest of the night, My dog usually wakes me up with excited barking that lasts until I stumble outside in my robe and dip net. It is entertaining to wake my wife up with a beak popping, yellow-eyed Bubo and get her to drive us out into the hinterlands to release the marauder. We keep waiting for the sheriff to pull us over and see the reaction.

This morning it was a young female coopers hawk, trying to hide from me in the Elm. After dumping some grain into the feed pans I coerced a few pigeons to fly. They blasted out of the door and headed for the lightening sky. These birds have evaded numerous attacks by my falcons and know how to avoid capture. That little rocket was on their tails in a flash and stayed right with them, up a hundred feet, out over the canal, before giving up and sailing back to the elm. I went back inside and saw that she had flown to the top of the dovecote right away, where she stayed for an hour, dancing around on top of the wire, trying to figure out how to get in. It was another hour before the horde of English sparrows decided it was safe enough to come in and feed.

I may get up before light tomorrow and try to trap that little speedster. I love getting those accipiters in hand to get a really good look at their maniacal, yellow/orange eyes and their spidery, lethal toes and talons.

Bird watching in Boise is a blast, isn't it?

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