Winter Birds, Cats, Snow


Photos © Todd Klein.

Yesterday afternoon our cats Tigger and Leo were acting agitated while looking out through my sliding door at the back yard. I followed their gaze and saw an immature Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the rocks beside our small pond. It stayed there for quite a while, clearly a young bird who wanted to catch one of the songbirds coming to our feeders, but not sure how to go about it. I often wonder how many young hawks survive, they seem particularly bad at catching their prey. Probably a lot of them don’t survive.


I checked my field guide, as there were some puzzling markings, like the white spots on the back, but I eliminated anything other than Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, and the white edges at the ends of the tail feathers confirmed it as a Cooper’s. There is a lot of variation in markings of hawks, particularly young ones.

Cooper’s Hawk from Todd Klein on Vimeo.

A short video of the bird preening.


This morning we awoke to snow, like much of the northeast. We got only a few inches, enough to be pretty, not enough to require shoveling the driveway, thankfully! The holly tree at right is heavily laden.


Out by the end of the driveway, our road has been plowed. We should be able to get out when we need to, but will stay home today. Ellen gets a snow day from work, which she’s happy about.


While I was out having a look, two songbirds flew into our garage, a Hermit Thrush, above, and a White-throated Sparrow. We had to shoo them out into the cold, and they didn’t seem anxious to go.


Out back, a flock of blackbirds was mobbing our feeders, mostly Common Grackles. Leo watched them intently. Normally I’m annoyed when they arrive, but they’re ground feeders, so probably very hungry, and they’re welcome today.


The window feeder in my studio is also busy with birds like these House Finches.


They also entertain and frustrate the cats. Here Leo is only inches from a Dark-eyed Junco sitting on the windowsill under the feeder. Today it did not flinch when he tried to scare it. Hunger wins out over skittishness!

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