Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday: Sharp-shinned Hawk(s) vs Linny and Tom

The Sharp-shinned hawks, there are at least two of them, maybe three, tactics are evolving. They swoop in quick and if they don't get a song bird they take off right away. The assumption being they know Linny and Tom will be right out the door and on them. Before they would linger and try and get down in the bushes or intimidate a song bird to making a run for it. The only two known kills of the last two weeks have been chasing song birds into the windows, though they are well marked now, and catching the song birds when they fall to the porch and before they can recover. At 9a.m. comes the first attack, chased off by Tom, 10:30am there is a second again unsuccessful and chased off by Linny and Tom. A little after noon Tom sees a flurry outside the office window and hears a bird hit glass on the front porch. Throwing the front door open the Sharp-shinned takes flight and Tom rescues what appears to be a young House finch. The balance of the day between chasing off Sharp-shinned hawks Linny and Tom spend with the House finch. Towards the end of the day she appears to have recovered and they take her onto the front porch where they found her. She hops around some but is unable to fly. With Sharp-shinneds still prevalent they return to the office where she spends the night sleeping on some books. She likes Ray Bradbury.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday: Sharp-shinned Hawk(s) vs Linny and Tom

Three more times the Sharp-shinned visits and three more times Tom and Linny chase him/them off. After the second chase, no birds return for nearly and hour while Linny and Tom scour the area trying to find the Sharp-shinned. If the song birds aren't returning, he's here. After considerable time searching and glassing with the binoculars, in the picture, center, left of the main rock and just above the two yellow bushes in a line, they find him and Tom chases him off.

Friday: Sharp-shinned Hawk(s) vs Linny and Tom

In the following video, the Sharp-shinned has a Dark Eyed Junco in the Cottonwood tree below him which isn't moving hoping not to be located.
The Sharp-shinned in the following video again has a Dark Eyed Junco below in the Desert Willow which he's trying to maneuver on top of.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Loggerhead Shrike

Linny and Tom spend Thursday three times running off the Butcher but see no signs of Housekeeping the Cleaner. Four days in a row without seeing a Sharp-shinned hawk though they did see a Cooper's hawk off in the distance.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Cleaner, The Butcher

Having chased off the Cooper's hawk and Sharp-shinned hawks several times on Sunday Tom is feeling moderate success having seen no sign of either for two days. Not so with the Loggerhead Shrike driven from the front area of the lodge four times today with snowballs. Housekeeping the Canyon Wren, comes inside the lodge almost every morning and puts his beak in all the nooks and crannies thoroughly cleaning up any fly, spider, insect that may have taken up occupancy. Tom sees him bouncing around on the front porch and then he freezes while all the songbirds take flight. The Butcher, Loggerhead Shrike visits for the fifth time with an eye on Housekeeping and is again repelled by white ice. Not until he's gone does Housekeeping begin moving again.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Back to Base Camp

S Turns


The cows, while interesting for awhile, have been spending too much time at Base Camp and attempting to eat everything. Tom called the Cowboys and they said they'd be out by Christmas to run them off. Today, Christmas Eve, a lone cowboy, horse, and three dogs did just that on a pretty cold day and deeper by the minute snow. Knowing at the end of the day he'd have to get his horse trailer parked on the other side of Hurrah Pass up the S curves, Tom went along to make sure he made it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Return

Tom returns from two days in Salt Lake to see a pile of Junco feathers under the Desert Willow just off the front porch. It appears the Sharp-shinned felt comfortable enough to eat it's entire meal on the front porch.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tom Needs a New Plan

Tom spends some of the morning and much of the afternoon unable to find the Cooper's hawk. Switching strategies he searches for nesting locations of either the Cooper's or Sharp-shinned and comes up with one potential location. Tom returns to the lodge to find the Sharp-shinned waiting for him in the back yard. Tom needs a new plan.

Day Two of the Hawk

It's 7am and seven degrees when Tom steps out on the porch. If the Sharp-shinned comes in false dawn to set his trap Tom will be there. Tom feeds the birds at 9am and by 10:30am still not a single raptor has appeared. Tom makes breakfast and before heading to the office to eat looks out the window to see no songbirds and a bush that is thicker than it was a little while ago. Today, the Cooper's hawk, like it or not, will have a new traveling companion.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Follow

In the early afternoon, with no return of the Sharp-shin, Tom twice hears White Tailed Antelope Squirrels sounding the alarm to the east of Base Camp. Thru binoculars Tom can see the Sharp-shinned in the distance. Tom closes the gap on the Sharp-shinned and for the rest of the day goes where it goes. Having chased the Sharp-shinned for the entire day Tom sits down at his desk, plugs the expired camera battery into the wall, and senses the Sharp-shinned knows its not welcome. Suddenly out the office window the Sharp-shinned swoops in on the feeding songbirds pinning them in the brush. Tom rushes out the door and the Sharp-shinned retreats to the North. Tom watches it for at least a mile before he loses sight of it.

All Quiet

Tom watches from the front porch for three hours with no return of the Sharp-shinned or any other bird of prey.

The Day

Though without enlarging the previous videos it's hard to tell Tom has followed the Side-shinned on five landings and takeoffs and eventually lost him in the tamarisk along the river. Returning to the lodge to await his no doubt eventual return Tom notices for the first time, it's actually a beautiful day.

Today We Are One

It's Sharp-shinned hawks that are having the high kill ratio and today are Tom's mission. The plan, though not yet having faced real life, always a problem, wherever the Sharp-shinned goes, so goes Tom. With snow on the trees, if Tom can't see where it lands, where it lands he should see fresh snow fall on the ground below, shaken from branches it landed on. With that, weak as it may seem, Tom thinks he may be able to follow such a trail and find where they live.

In The Distance Danger

It took a few weeks but in time Tom solved the what now appears to have been Cooper's hawks back in Jan and Feb trying to get the White-tailed Antelope Squirrels. Eventually he was able to keep the majority of the various snakes off the front porch trying to eat his favorite Side-blotched lizards Who's Up and What's Up. The birds of prey are much more difficult. There are so many with various techniques for getting the three primary types of songbirds. The Cooper's hawk show up before feeding and blend into the landscape not moving for hours waiting for something to come by. Four hours and 45 minutes in one case. Sharp-shinned hawks are more agile and dedicated, twice flying into the picture window in pursuit. The Loggerhead Shrike, is about the same size as a songbird, pretends to be a songbird, walked right into the middle of the songbirds the other day before he was noticed. The Shrike can fit in the bushes songbirds take cover in. The Peregrine falcon is such a fast mover he's on them before any sort of warning can take place and now there's a new hawk that Tom doesn't yet know what his SOP is. Tom has placed seed closer to cover, put decoys out, eliminated avenues of attack, and on Sunday pulled extra brush over for cover though wandering cows showed up and ate it shortly after.

Day of the Hawk

Tom's been waiting for this day and has dedicated it to taking the fight to the birds of prey. He's pretty comfortable in his tracking skills with big horn sheep, mountain lion, bobcat, deer, snake, lizard, fox.......but he's never tracked a bird.
Today, with snow, he thinks he can. Waking up and looking out the window the songbirds are already pinned in the brush by a Sharp-shinned hawk. By the time he can get his boots and jacket on a Cooper's hawk has joined the hunt. As Tom opens the front door, both take flight. Tom sweeps and rakes the snow for a spot for the songbirds to feed. The rest of the this cold day will be spent on the front porch waiting. He doubts it will be long.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday Evening

Nervous: A Way Of Life

Birds of Prey

Saturday, Sunday and Monday the songbirds are under almost constant attack. Tom places wood chips at all three feeding locations. Wood chips seem to confuse the hawks who have three times now grabbed a wood chip instead of a songbird. Tom puts reflector string tape on the main windows as twice hawks have pursued songbirds into the windows and then gotten them when they hit the ground. No more. Tom places the food closer to the bushes the songbirds take cover in. Thinking he's made real progress he then three times sees the small Loggerhead Shrike wait until there is but one bird left in the front feeding brush and then plow into it in pursuit of the White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, or Dark Eyed Junco. Moving to the back yard there are two Sharp-shinned Hawks hanging out waiting for something to come out of the brush and a new before unseen hawk (Red-shouldered) has joined the fray. Until Tom can get a picture of his head, he's not sure. You can see a White-tailed Antelope Squirrel on the rock keeping an eye on the new predator.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More From On Top of the Anti-Cline

Ambush Site

Ivan and Tom discover an ambush site where a Mountain Lion has killed a deer and not very many days ago.